Top Teacher – Terese Allender
Windsor Farm Elementary nominates Allender as County Teacher of the Year for her commitment and compassion with students.
Despite her small stature, Terese Allender has made a big impression on the Windsor Farm Elementary School community. Her philosophy for teaching has earned high marks from students, parents, and staff, including principal Randall Rice who nominated her for county teacher of the year.
“Terese Allender is a remarkable educator. She is knowledgeable, professional and energetic,” said Rice. “More importantly, however, is the commitment and compassion she demonstrates for every student in her class. In Mrs. Allender’s mind, students clearly come first.”
Growing up a child of a teacher, Allender knew what she was getting into when she decided on her career path.
“I knew it was hard work and long hours,” said Allender, “I thought about physical therapy for a while because I was really into sports, but I just really like working with kids.”
Her philosophy for teaching actually came at an early age. “I remember my fourth grade teacher who would always put students down, embarrass them, make them feel small,” she explained. “I use a lot of humor in my classroom, but I will never make a student feel bad about themselves. They all have potential and it is my job to find it.”
She was teaching the older elementary grades when she received her masters degree in reading instruction. Believing she could make a bigger difference with younger readers, she transferred to first grade.
“It was great on one level, but I think I wanted students with a little more independence and who could get my humor,” she said. So she is now teaching second grade.
Allender lives in Linthicum with her husband and two daughters. When not teaching, she also coaches lacrosse for her daughter’s team and volunteers at St. Phillip Neri Catholic Church.
Allender believes parents are a huge part of her success and believes it “an honor and a privilege that parents trust me with their children.”
“I remember how it felt the first time I left my daughter with her babysitter, wondering how I could put her safety in the hands of someone I didn’t know that well,” recalled Allender. “That is what parents do with us every year on the first day of school. They trust us to do the best I can with their children in this important phase of their life.”
One of the best parts of her job, she says, is hearing from former students. She remembered how on one day, when she was grocery shopping, she heard her name being called.
“It was a student in my very first class,” said Allender. “She said I was always her favorite teacher and that she was now in college to be a teacher herself. “
Allender recalled thinking that she really didn’t believe she knew what she was doing those first few years, and was surprised that the student had such fond memories of that year.
“I guess that means I must have done something right,” said Allender with a smile.