Green Canyon High School Teacher of the Year, Alisha Rawlins: Encouraging positivity and confidence
A positive and uplifting environment is what Green Canyon High School’s Teacher of the Year, Alisha Rawlins, strives for in her Life Skills classroom. Alisha Rawlins, or Miss Alisha as her students call her, knows that students learn the best when they are happy and comfortable.
Alisha has several techniques to help her students keep a positive attitude to ensure that her classroom stays as positive as it can. By the door of her classroom is an affirmation station. The words “I am…” are posted at the top of a mirror. This gives students the chance to look at themselves and choose an attribute, such as “I am unique.” The affirmation station is helpful during times when students are struggling. Alisha will take them over to the mirror and help them see the exceptional qualities they possess.
Another positive and empowering activity Alisha does in her classroom is counteracting negative self-talk. If anyone, including peer tutors and even teachers, says something negative about themselves, they have to follow it up with five positive qualities. Encouraging positive self-talk is essential in Alisha’s classroom because she has found that her students desire to work harder when they have a positive mindset.
Additionally, Alisha strives to make sure her student's needs are consistently met by having unique activities to keep them engaged. When the weather is nice, she teaches several of her lessons outside, such as using chalk to solve math problems and walking around the school looking for different plants, flowers, and sounds.
Alisha is grateful for the community of support that helps to educate her students. She works closely with her 13 classroom aides, peer tutors, co-teachers, and the parents of her students. Along with math, science, and social studies, students learn how to button shirts, use an oven, determine what types of foods they may be allergic to, and read labels on food containers. They also learn hygiene practices and even practice communication and socialization by making pretend phone calls and asking for phone numbers and contact information. Recently, Alisha’s students had a lesson on April Fools' Day—about what pranks are and how to think through and determine which types of pranks are appropriate.
Alisha is a Hope Squad advisor, has led Special Olympics basketball and soccer, and even assisted in organizing Special Forces Sports Day. Principal Dave Swensen describes Rawlins as a positive ray of sunshine, always upbeat and smiling. “I’ve seen her in action, especially with students who are in a tumultuous situation,” Swenson said. “She keeps this composure that calms them down very quickly. It’s amazing what she does.”
Alisha Rawlins (shown here with Principal Dave Swenson and Green Canyon HS
Life Skills team members Annie Romrell, Jorjee Gowans, and Patricia Falslev,
and board member Chris Corcoran) was honored at the March 17, 2022