Being named Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year is a big deal, and next week, the winner for the year 2000 will be named in Oklahoma City. In recent days, the News on Six had introduced you to two of northeastern Oklahoma's finalists. The following is a profile of the third top teacher from our area.
There are many things Mitsuye Conover loves about teaching. One of them is being a life-long learner herself. She's taught and learned alongside thousands of young people in Bartlesville since 1973.
As a history teacher, Conover strives to show students the common threads that relate them to the past. "From the very beginning, we stress certain common themes that come up over and over again," said Conover. "I want them to feel a part of this history that's evolving -- that they're a part of it."
Students say Mrs. Conover excels at making them feel a part of it. She integrates history with other subjects, plans interesting projects, and works to meet individual student needs. She presents history as far more than facts. "She made us think about why the things were done and about what we would've done in the same situation," said student Julie Bullock . " She really made us understand what was going on at the time."
Conover's colleagues appreciate her sense of humor, her energy and creativity in the classroom. "Probably what makes her really special is her genuine love for the kids," said teacher Ron Berger. "She really does love the kids and the kids can sense that."
They become like family, and remain so, Conover says, the greatest reward of teaching. "You cannot compare the wonderful feeling when they come back later, tell you what they're doing, tell you what school has done for them," she said. "A teacher could ask for nothing more than that."
It is still hard for Conover to believe she is a finalist for Oklahoma's highest teaching award. She is proud to represent her fellow teachers, and the profession she honors. "At the time I went into teaching, I probably lamented the fact that I had so few choices," she remembered. "Now, looking back after 28 years, there's no way I would change my career."
The other northeastern Oklahoma finalists are Jo Jo Nichols of Broken Arrow and Rebecca Whitford of Nowata. The winner will be announced at the Oklahoma State Fair September 29th.