With hundreds of teachers within the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, it takes a very, very special one to be awarded the honor of “Teacher of the Year.” With her energy, inspirational outlook and genuine, supportive nature, Allison Weavil was the obvious choice!
“I am currently finishing my 17th year of teaching,” said Weavil. “I have always been at the high school level. I taught for 14 years at West Forsyth High School, and I’ve been at East Forsyth High School for three years.”
Not only is teaching in her blood, winning awards for going above and beyond is as well! “My mother was a teacher and later an award-winning assistant principal in South Carolina,” said Weavil. “From an early age, I saw her example. As a student at Gilbert High School in Gilbert, SC and at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, I had outstanding teachers and professors that inspired me to go into education. My high school biology teacher, Valerie Waites, introduced me to my first love—biology. Many other teachers encouraged me to become an educator. In college, the calling to teach became clearer to me. Ultimately, I wanted to inspire students to love biology and love learning the way my teachers and professors had inspired me.”
Biology can be a difficult subject for some students to get the hang of, but Weavil’s education molded her into an instructor that knew just how to engage students of all backgrounds. “My high school biology teacher made the subject area come alive,” said Weavil. “Biology is the study of life, and there are so many ways that the subject area applies to real life. My goal is for my students to develop a respect, if not a love, for the subject as they see how it relates to their lives.”
Her position at East Forsyth High School allows her to stay closer to home and her family. After teaching at West Forsyth High School for more than a decade, the opportunity arose for her to teach biology in Kernersville. A member of the Kernersville community for 17 years, the transfer was a no-brainer for Weavil!
The honor of Teacher of the Year is one no teacher takes for granted…especially Allison Weavil. “Let me begin by saying very clearly that there are incredible teachers all over Forsyth County, and I am humbled by the honor I have been given,” said Weavil. “I know there’s great teaching that goes on every day at every level in our school system. The most important part of my job is to make sure that my kids (students) are prepared for whatever comes next in their lives. I strive to meet them where they are academically, socially and emotionally, and I challenge them to move ahead. I use a variety of teaching methods to meet their needs, and I try to make the experience of learning biology come alive for them as it did for me. I take my role of teacher very seriously because I understand that what happens each day during my class can have a lasting impact on my kids’ lives. Though I take the role of teacher seriously, I don’t mind making a fool of myself in the classroom if it keeps my kids engaged and helps them to learn. It is not unusual for me to climb on top of a desk or use strange voices or act out my content.”
Though there is constant change happening within the public education system, Weavil remains positive about the differences teachers can make no matter what. “I believe that the overwhelming majority of teachers understand the gravity of their role in the classroom,” said Weavil. “We have an opportunity every day to challenge, inspire, motivate and change lives in big and small ways, and I would encourage my fellow teachers to press on toward those goals. Let’s lift each other up so that we can continue making a difference for kids. From my perspective, I see teachers pushing students to work harder and achieve more than they ever thought they could. I see teachers that quietly provide for students’ physical needs, including food and clothing. I see teachers that give a smile and positive word to students who may not get that at home. I see teachers that advocate for students with learning disabilities, limited English proficiency, difficult home situations and health problems. I see teachers that live out their calling to make a difference in students’ lives every single day. There are so many times that even the best teachers get discouraged and exhausted. I would ask parents and community members to offer their support and encouragement. When you see what is going right with our schools, say something. It means the world to us. I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that encouraged me, believed in me and supported me. I am blessed to have an awesome family, excellent co-workers, amazing friends and outstanding students! I thank God for each of them and for this honor.”