BY BROOKLYNN COLLINS
Twelve lucky West High students have had the opportunity of having two state teachers of the year for instructors. Hamblen County teachers Brian Mclaughlin, a math teacher at West High, and Derek Voiles, an English teacher at Lincoln Heights Middle School, have both received Tennessee teacher of the year. These teachers have not only met their teaching goals, but they have surpassed them while creating a fun learning environment for teenagers and pre-teens alike.
Students who have had both teachers include West High Students:
Voiles had most of his former students when they were in seventh grade. When reminiscing on his fond memories of his past students he said, “I have so many fond memories of these students. Each of them brought a unique perspective and lively personality to the classroom. It was a pleasure having them in class and getting to see them grow academically and personally over the course of a year. I am so excited to see what the future holds for each of them.”
Regarding students who have Mclaughlin now and advice, Voiles said, “Being named the Tennessee Teacher of the Year is truly an honor and major accomplishment. The title of Tennessee TOY also comes with a lot of new roles and responsibilities. I would advise his students to realize that Mr. McLaughlin's classroom is more than just four walls and a door, it is more than just Mr. McLaughlin. His classroom is made up of each and every one of them; it's the culture and environment he has created. As his students, they must carry on that environment and expectation of excellence even when he can't be with them. They should remember that Mr. McLaughlin will be their teacher for this year, but as the Tennessee Teacher of the Year, he also represents 66,000 teachers and roughly 994,000 students across the state. He is not only their teacher, but he is Tennessee's teacher as well. Understand that it is a great honor to have him as a teacher, so soak up all you can from him while you're in his class. I know he will be thinking of each and every one of his students as he travels the state to share their stories, as well as the stories of so many students and teachers across the state of Tennessee.”
Some students like Maria Lopez and Josie Hernandez, both West High Trojans, have defied all statistics by having both Tennessee Teachers of the year. When regarding the atmosphere of the two teachers' classes, Lopez said, “There is a lot of work that you have to do, but they both make learning fun with how they teach.” When regarding the teachers Hernandez said, “They are similar in a lot of ways and I can see why they were both elected Tennessee teachers of the year.”
West Side Story congratulates Mclaughlin and Voiles for winning Tennessee Teacher of the Year.