Pecatonica English teacher helping kids excel through self expression

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PECATONICA (WREX) — Therese Magden has spent most of her teaching career in Pecatonica.

14 of 22 years split between the middle school and the high school.

She can be found teaching AP English these days, trying to push her kids to not go through the motions.

“All teachers want to make the classroom student centered but that’s especially challenging at the high school level because many high school students do not want to be the center of attention,” Magden said.

“They just want you to provide the answer or for you to tell them what to do. They don’t want to talk about it. So getting students to open up, especially in the English classroom where you want them to communicate, is a little more challenging at the high school level.”

Ms. Magden’s teaching style is geared toward getting her kids to speak their minds.

Often putting students in front of the class to run the lesson so they can develop their own opinions to relay to their “students.”

“AP English is all about making them analyze the work themselves. Come up with their own argument and defend it. By putting them in that situation and reassuring them that everyone has the right to defend their own opinion, then they gain that confidence.”

Magden’s approach is received well by her students.

So much so, one of her students decided to nominate her for Teacher of the Week.


During her interview, Magden joked about how she never thought she would be an award recognizing her for her teaching.

Thanks to senior Daija Maldonado, the joke was over.

“Ever since I had one of her classes, she always takes a personal and teacher role. She’s just one of my favorite teachers ever. She just has a really big impact on me,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado gives Ms. Magden a lot of credit for getting her through her junior year of high school.

She missed a lot of school and wasn’t motivated to go to class.

It was the support Ms. Magden gave her that helped her push through.

“She’s like a second mom to me. She actually supported me and made me want to come to school. She’s basically the reason I passed and I’m onto my senior year right now,” Maldonado said.

Ms. Magden was touched to hear one of her students thought so highly of her.

She sees it as a defining moment teachers don’t expect but always want to hear.

“When you are successful in reaching someone like that and giving them that extra boost to go to that next level, that makes it all worth while,” Magden said.

Evan Leake

Evan Leake

Morning Show Anchor

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