Year in and year out, our teachers put so much of their time, effort, and money into their students. The foundation of our lives begins with the education they provide, so as one of many big thank yous, MVHS honors one educator with the Teacher of the Year award. For 2020, that teacher is the phenomenal Theresa Hecker. In her 23 years of teaching–all at Medina Valley– she has been nominated twice before, but this is her first time officially being awarded Teacher of the Year.
“I was actually pretty surprised because I know there are a lot of amazing teachers at this school,” Hecker said. “I had a hard time believing they chose me out of all of them; I felt very honored.”
For teachers, administrators, and students alike, this year has been the toughest yet. Along with her colleagues, Hecker had to adapt to unprecedented changes in the mediums of teaching, the division of her students, and double the normal work.
“The biggest challenge last spring was trying to learn all the technology that made things easier for students as quickly as possible,” Hecker said. “Also, trying to give the virtual students the same support as the in-person students get was pretty tough. Time management and working with a great team helped to take the burden off a bit.”
‘Together’ is key and Hecker’s team player mentality has greatly helped her fellow teachers not only this year, but every year before.
“Mrs. Hecker does a great job of managing the math department’s needs and her classroom requirements,” math teacher Douglas Neuman said. “Supplies to help make our job as math teachers easier may not seem like a big deal until you realize how much it costs if you buy them out of your own pocket. Mrs. Hecker either already has ordered what you need or is more than willing to consider purchasing supplies for you.”
Beyond being a great teacher, Hecker is renownedly a kind and lighthearted presence.
“First, I must mention that Mrs. Hecker is the Math Goddess,” math teacher Janis Mack said. “She has provided sound advice on classroom management and given me several strategies to help the students grasp the material. She has been more than a mentor, but a great friend that has helped me through some of my most personal challenges.”
It is Hecker’s compassion and understanding that helps her so successfully teach one of the hardest subjects. Today, that genuine care and empathy is needed more than ever.
“I have to constantly remind myself that while it’s a very challenging year and things are very hard, I am still very blessed and fortunate,” Hecker said. “There are many students out there who are having a harder time than I am; they might be struggling with learning at home and can’t come because they want to keep a family member safe or they have to work to help support the family. I am trying my best to give them the support they need, while still trying to challenge them.”
Hecker’s passion for teaching has not gone unnoticed. Her students appreciate her dedication and all the lessons she has taught them even beyond geometry.
“Mrs. Hecker is hardworking and kind,” junior Lauren Hendrickson said. “She’s always been a positive role model in my life and she’s taught me that it’s okay to fail as long as you get back up again.”
Before she is a teacher, Hecker is a learner. She welcomes the lessons of her experiences and what others can teach her.
“I’ve learned that there are some pretty wonderful teachers and students out there,” Hecker said. “None are the same, but all have qualities that make them amazing. I’ve also learned that students can teach me just as much as I can teach them. I know that even after 23 years of teaching, I am still learning too…from everyone!”
Congratulations and Thank you so much Mrs. Hecker for your constant devotion to your students and Medina Valley altogether.