Round Rock Opportunity Center English teacher Jo Moyer has been selected as the 2016 Teacher of the Year on her campus. Moyer has been an educator for 12 years, eight of which have been at the Round Rock Opportunity Center.
Moyer was an avid student as an adolescent and was inspired to become an educator by her grandfather, who was a teacher in a one-room school house, she said. While she always had an inkling that she would become a teacher, it wasn’t until her junior year in high school when she received an unfair grade that she committed to the career, vowing to assess students with transparency, objectivity and compassion, she said.
Now as an educator, Moyer stands by that vow and said her teaching philosophy is guided by the fact that students are not just students, they’re whole, coming of age people. She works to aid in their development, boost their confidence and accept them as they are.
“The privilege of working at an alternative school reminds me every day that students’ school lives do not take place in a vacuum,” Moyer said. “We are, after all, educating the public, in all of its social complexities. As such, we must adopt and embrace students’ unique experiences as the one true compass for reaching them.”
Moyer taught at a traditional campus before accepting a position at the Round Rock Opportunity Center and came to the school with preconceived notions of a “cubicle-laden” school environment, she said. Now, she wouldn’t change her job for anything as she can see the Round Rock Opportunity Center to be a wealth of talent, for both students and teachers.
“We are oftentimes underestimated, discounted and disenfranchised,” Moyer said. “But we meet here on a daily basis at this alternative school to do exactly that, offer alternatives. We collaborate on behalf of those students for whom the status quo is not working, for whatever reason.
Moyer work with Round Rock ISD students across the years has come with many challenges and triumphs, Round Rock Opportunity Center Principal Rene Posey said. Moyer expertly bridges gaps in language with her students by working to create a strong foundation for both English and Spanish, bolstering students for success, Posey said.
“Ms. Moyer has successfully balanced a variety of teaching elements and still has managed to inspire, encourage, modify and set the example for all her students,” Posey said. “The Round Rock Opportunity Center and the District are better because of the work that she diligently does in reaching all of those working to master the Spanish and English languages in all of our middle and high schools.”