Teacher of the Year provides students with real-world experiences

Teacher of the Year provides students with real-world experiences

N orthview High School 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year Meredith Meaders Evans, ’12, ’13, believes in giving her students real-world learning applications. She projects a passion for journalism to her students, who benefit from her lessons to become self-starters. 

Meredith Evans holds the Teacher of the Year plaque, which bears her name, for Northview High School.
Meredith Evans holds the Teacher of the Year plaque, which bears her name, for Northview High School.

Evans teaches American literature, journalism and broadcast journalism—a new class that she created this year.

“I’m loving this class,” she said. “We're learning how to create podcasts, film them and do different styles of broadcast journalism. The students are learning all kinds of real-world journalism techniques and posting those online through Apple, Spotify, etc. Our podcast is called 'Point of View.'

Students lead the journalism classes.

“They’re learning everything from ad sales to printing a newspaper to creating an online newspaper publication,” Evans said. 

Meredith Meaders (center) and her students record their most recent podcast episode “Point of View.”
Meredith Meaders (center) and her students record their most recent podcast episode “Point of View.”

This is by far her favorite class. Evans guides students as they work with the school’s national award-winning newspaper “The Messenger.”  Since the COVID-19 pandemic, this newspaper has gone completely online, winning 44 awards, last year alone.

“These students work hard and are rocking it,” she said. “They're amazing.”

For Evans, the most impactful experience in the classroom happened in early 2020.

“Before we shut down during COVID, my newspaper class was printing actual newspapers,” she said. “Within one week my editorial staff of 10 to 12 students came together and created a website with different news outlets, where we could still report the news.”

The students were living in different places and interviewed subjects from their homes. They also designed, wrote and edited the newspaper online. 

“Most of all, I want for my students to be good humans by going out into the world and be difference makers,” Evans said. “I want them to know that they have a voice, and that their voice is powerful.”
– Meredith Evans

“I informed the students that they have other things to do, so we can stop the newspaper,” Evans said. “They said, ‘No, this is the news. This is the time for us to report it.’”

“That was so uplifting for me, because, as teachers, we always hope we're making a difference,” she said. “For our kids to take charge like this was an incredible moment.”

Dr. Chris Greer’s technology in education class at Georgia College made a strong impression on Evans. She applies what she learned from that class to her lesson plans today.

“Technology is vital to teaching, especially with the way our world has been with the pandemic,” Evans said. “I try different ways of doing things and incorporating new kinds of lessons using technology.”

Greer’s class exposed Evans to many possibilities so she could show students how to create a website and online portfolios to better prepare them for the working world. 

Meredith Evans teaches a student how to edit a podcast.
Meredith Evans teaches a student how to edit a podcast.

“I've actually taught students how to use online portfolios in my newspaper class,” Evans said. “And I taught this to my honors classes a few years ago because it gave students a portfolio to take with them to college or use for a resume. They can put all of their work in it, including photos, videos and articles they write for my newspaper class and place it on a public domain site.”

Evans always explains to her students the purpose behind assignments. That allows them to see the correlation between real-world application and things that matter to them. Some students told her they got a job because of her lessons on interviewing, resume and cover letter writing.

“It's really cool for my students to learn real-life skills,” Evans said. “As much as I would love for them to write the perfect paper, I think that making sure they know how to go out into the world and do different things to find good jobs is equally important.”

Ultimately, she hopes students will use their passion to reach their goals.

“Most of all, I want for my students to be good humans by going out into the world and be difference makers,” Evans said. “I want them to know that they have a voice, and that their voice is powerful.”

Since Evans has been teaching, she’s amazed at how students push their abilities to the limits.

“Kids are so much more capable than the world sometimes gives them credit for,” Evans said. “Getting to watch them apply those things and see that reward for themselves is awesome.”