Before Sequoyah Middle School’s Teacher of the Year was hired to teach a classroom of students, she had spent hours “playing school” as a child.
“I have always wanted to be a teacher,” Miriam Conrady said. “I could play for hours in my room.
(Editor’s Note: This story is one in a series of stories about educators who were chosen Teacher of the Year for their respective schools. Teachers are representing schools from both the Deer Creek and Edmond school districts.)
Her parents had a white board installed in her bedroom one Christmas.
“I will always consider that to be one of the very best gifts I have ever received,” Conrady said.
She said it is hard to choose who has been the most important influence in her life.
“Both of my parents put a huge emphasis on education and school,” Conrady said. “My mom has been on the Putnam City School Board for 22 years. She still works tirelessly for the public school system.”
Conrady added that she had an amazing aunt who was a fabulous math teacher, and one break her aunt brought home an overhead projector so Miriam could play with it.
“I feel that I had several people guiding my decision to become a teacher,” she said.
Conrady has been teaching at Sequoyah for 14 years where she teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade drama, two classes of each. Before transitioning to drama three years ago, Conrady had taught language arts for 11 years.
HELPS STUDENTS FIND PLACE
She believes the most important thing about teaching middle school students is to help them find their place whether it be band or orchestra, a technology class, the academic team, the basketball team, choir, or in a drama production.
“Middle school is the first time that kids get to have a choice in their education,” Conrady said. “It is so important for all students to have a place that they feel like they truly fit.”
Conrady said she believes teaching drama comes with a different set of priorities than a core class does.
“I tell parents and students every year, that while I know drama may not be for everyone, my main goal is to grow their confidence during the time that I have with them,” Conrady said. “Growing your confidence is such a huge part of middle school.”
Like many educators she believes she is constantly learning from her students.
“Maybe it is a different perspective on how to best perform a scene or a different perspective on how to approach one of their peers,” Conrady said. “We have so much to learn from our students.”
Conrady has a large sign in her classroom that says, “Everyone is welcome here. Everyone belongs.” That is also the philosophy of her classroom.
“Every student has a place in my classroom, and it is important to me that they know it,” she said.
Miriam and her husband, Ben, met their first year at Sequoyah and have been married for 10 1/2 years. Ben is the band director and they teach across the hall from each other.
They are currently in the process of adopting a baby.
Miriam loves musicals and she and her husband try to take a New York City theatre trip every few years.
She leads worship with her husband at the Summit service at Quail Springs United Methodist Church.