Teacher's Name: Christine McCollum
School: Hammond Area Career Center
School District: Hammond School District
Tell about this teacher and why they should be recognized?: Mrs. McCollum is an amazing person. She treats every kid like her own and takes the time to get to know and understand each of her students and their situations. She was previously a nurse and chose to become a teacher to help educate the younger generations and I am forever great full I was able to be in her classroom. She had touched so many people and I know that now she is not only my favorite teacher but also a life long friend and supporter.
What did they do that stands out this year?: She takes students to the nearby colleges to have them take tours and she also gets multiple guest speakers to come talk to her students. It’s amazing how much work this woman puts into her job and how much she does for her students even though she doesn’t have to do so.
Tell about this teacher and why they should be recognized?: Mrs. McCollum sees potential in every student that walks in her door. She not only goes out of her way for her students but makes sure every student she had in previous years is on the right path. She makes sure every student that walks out of her door knows what it takes to become a healthcare provider along with how to execute it well and professionally. She’s what I always needed in my life and because of her I am on the right path to my career choice with excelling certifications, college credits, and more.
What did they do that stands out this year?: Even though she was not my teacher this year, she was last year, and she always makes sure that I’m on the right path and that I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m living up to my fullest potential.
Tell about this teacher and why they should be recognized?: Mrs. McCollum should be recognized as the best and favorite teacher because she is optimistic, charismatic, dedicated, passionate, an advocate for us students, trustworthy, and what makes her stand out the most is she takes the time to understand each and every one of her students as an individual and their strengths and weaknesses as well as learning styles and what motivates them.
What did they do that stands out this year?: This year, Mrs. McCollum was really there for a lot of the students in her class. She took out the time to talk to her students and understand their feelings in rough times and she truly cared about each and everyone and our mental health.
Tell about this teacher and why they should be recognized?: McCollum takes the time to not only engage with her students but to know who they are as an individual and help them learn from what level they are on.
What did they do that stands out this year?: This year McCollum has had ways for student contact and has always been close with students regarding their situations.
Tell about this teacher and why they should be recognized?: Mrs. McCollum is a Health Careers 1 teacher at the Hammond Area Career Center, but not only is she a teacher, she is also a Registered Nurse who does anything and everything day in and day out for her students, even when she doesn't have too. She does everything from shaking her students' hands every single morning, to getting to know her students individually and what's going on in each and everyone's life. She makes class almost feel like a second home, or maybe a safe place. She never backs down when offered a position to try something new, such as our brand new HOSA chapter at our own school. She stepped up to be our advisor and the chapter is only going to get better in the following years. On her days off from teaching, her love for helping others does not stop. She loves giving back to her community, and always pays it forward through community service whenever there is an opportunity. If one is not given, she goes out of her way to find them. As well as partaking in these service events, she also shares these opportunities with her current and previous students. Some teachers are here to teach what they know about one class, while others like Christine are here to teach us not only lessons about class, but also about life. Honestly, if a student walked away from her class without learning anything medical, I can promise you they did learn to help others and to always live life open-minded.
What did they do that stands out this year?: So, although there are many students who could probably nominate her for all of the great things she does each and every day, I have a special experience that is one I will cherish forever. I am not her current student, but I thought I'd explain to everyone how genuine of a person she is by using my experience from last year, as her student.
I joined her class eight days late. The first day of class my parents weren't home which led to me being out of uniform on my first day of school. Of course, I missed all of the weed out days so she had a stern talking to with me, in hopes to maybe scare me. Well, I personally, am a stubborn kid so I was like, yeah okay lady whatever. Since I was late, I had to make up all that work and still learn what she was currently teaching her class. This made for the hardest first week of class, I told my mom I needed out but this teacher of mine told my homeschool no.
So, as mad at her as I was, I came in on a Friday with all of my work and told her I was ready to take all of my quizzes that I missed. She gave me this crazy look as if she thought I was about to set myself up for failure. I took them all and when I was finished she came up to me and told me she was shocked I passed them all.
Fast forward to about February, I had grown a love for her as a teacher, and a love for her class as well as knowing that the medical field was definitely for me. I even told her about my first accident when my mom wasn't answering her phone. Crazy right?
I always dreamed of being a nurse, but one day something changed my life, for the better.
I had left school one day for a Cardiologist appointment, where I had found out I needed to have open-heart surgery. This was completely terrifying for a 17-year-old girl. No one ever wants to hear that.
So there was one day, probably in May, I just kind of broke down in my head and I knew I needed to tell her. It didn't really stop me from doing well in my class, but in the back of my mind there were so many scenarios playing when we were in the cardiology unit.
It was so surreal, and she knew it was getting to me.
My surgery was scheduled for June 3rd, which would have been my last day at the career center. Now normally, I don't miss the last day of school but for obvious reasons, I had to.
So on June 2nd, I had to say goodbye to all of my classmates and my two favorite teachers, wished them all the best and later that night, my family and I headed out to Oaklawn where my surgery would be.
June 3rd comes, faster than I ever knew, and I'm in the pre-operation room when my phone rang. Mrs. McCollum FaceTimed me on her way to work so of course I answered. She was crying and in that very moment, she showed me that sometimes teachers are more than just a teacher. That we're all humans. She told me to keep her updated when I got out, and she wished me luck and she told me she loved me.
I went into surgery, and when I came out, little did I know that as soon as that last bell rang at the school and she could've gone straight to the beach, she dropped all other priorities and showed up at the hospital to come check on me.
I don't think many students can say that their teachers would go that far out of their way, especially on the last day of school, to make sure one of her students made it out of surgery okay.
That says a lot about a person, and it truly shows their real love for students.
I always knew deep down that there was something special about her the day I met her, but this day really sealed the deal. Even now, as a senior when we were still in school, I stopped in every day to see her after class and give her a hug because she taught me to never give up. Not to give up on school, life, anything.
She even comes to the sporting events her students remind her of. For this reason, I tell her she's like a mom to me, and I know that she would do this for absolutely anyone of her students, I just happened to be the one that got lucky enough to have this rollercoaster of emotions crazy opportunity.
I tell her that I appreciate her all the time, but sharing my story can help students see that teachers don't necessarily focus on how awesome of a student you are, or what your grade is in the classroom, but if you do your best and treat them with respect, they will always do things to give back, that you will remember for a lifetime. Mrs. McCollum, thank you for always giving us your best, even when you stumbled upon days where you were balancing your own problems, and ours.
I will forever be grateful for you and I love you with all of me.