BELVIDERE (WREX) – Jeremy Edwards isn’t afraid to shake things up in his classroom at Belvidere High School, which is one of the reasons he was awarded the Golden Apple Award.
Edwards is a science teacher and department head at Belvidere High School, and Principal Billy Lewis said he is a model for learning because he is never afraid to change his ways.
“He lives everyday wanting to absolutely be at his best and he’s not afraid to change anything if he thinks it’s going to be better for students,” Lewis said.
Lewis said when Edwards started at Belvidere High School five years ago, he wasn’t seeing the results he wanted from his students, so he decided to revamp the way he teaches.
“I think he models what good learning is all about. And what I mean by that is he has been teaching for a lot of years, but every year starting when he first came to Belvidere HS and every year since he has always figured out a way to improve what he’s offering kids,” Lewis said.
Students said that approach is extremely helpful. One student David Williams said Edwards gives lets them work on AP biology projects at their own pace, and that allows them to truly understand the information.
“It really amazing how free-range it is, while still allowing everyone to get the work done and really know it,” Williams said.
He said he has been in Edwards class for two-years in a row, and he likes that he can move forward on new lessons, or continue working on older lessons, depending on how well he knows the material. He said Edwards’ techniques help him actually retain the content.
“He’s just a great teacher, he really is. There are things I still remember from last year in AC Bio, and it’s helped me a lot through this class,” Williams said.
On the special day, Edwards said he was nervous all morning, but he was finally able to take a deep breath when he saw people at his classroom door.
“I am going about my teaching, and then to kind of look over and see Mr. Lewis come through, and then to see there’s people behind him…and then this wave comes over me like ‘it happened…it finally happened,” Edwards said.
He has been nominated for the award multiple times.
“It’s exhilarating, and exciting, and kind of overwhelming,” he said.
Regardless of the actual award, Edwards said the whole Golden Apple process has helped him reflect on his career and how he teaches.
“Winning it, you don’t teach for awards, you teach for the kids,” he said. “So if it made me a better teacher that’s awesome. If I win the award..didn’t win the award, I think going through the process made me evaluate my craft and I think made me a better teacher.”
Congratulations to Mr. Edwards!