CENTENNIAL - 9NEWS' October 9Teachers Who Care winner is all about ducks. When you walk into Kendra Sustr's room at Mark Hopkins Elementary School, they are everywhere.
We're not talking about real ducks. We're talking about rubber ducks, stuffed ducks, little toy ducks, big toy ducks, colorful ducks and black and white ducks. She has a giant collection and most were given to her by students.
This all started when Sustr was in college. Her grandmother sent her a stuffed duck. When she began teaching, she remembered that and decided to give her students ducks when they did good work. It's gone on from there. Now, she calls her students her "ducks," and she selects a "duck of the day" to lead the class. She says it's all about teaching leadership, and making her second graders feel good about themselves.
When you visit Miss Sustr's class, the first thing you notice is how much energy she has. She gets on the floor with her students, reads to them, works one on one with them, puts her arms around them, lets them sit on her lap. She says she has to keep things interesting to keep their attention. It's why the students get to sing songs and repeat special sayings when transitioning from one subject to the next. She not only teaches them how to read and write but also to think about the subject matter. Critical thinking she says, should start at a young age so it becomes second nature later in life.
Congratulations to Kendra Sustr, our October 9Teachers Who Care Winner. To her students - she's also the mother duck.
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