Lynn Sazera knew without a shadow of a doubt from an early age that she wanted to be an early childhood teacher. “From the day I stepped into Mrs. Hicks” first grade class with my new Jetsons lunchbox in hand, I knew this was the place for me!,” she says.
Now a teacher for more than 32 years, her passion permeates through her teachings at Buford Elementary School where she serves as an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. The desire to educate the leaders of tomorrow is what led her to be named this year”s Buford City Schools Teacher of the Year.
Sazera holds an undergraduate degree, master”s degree and specialist degree in early childhood education, as well as ESOL certification. She was hired in 1980 by the Buford City School System and has taught third grade, kindergarten and today, ESOL. “When I was first hired in 1980, I had no idea how truly blessed I was to be apart of the Buford City School System. Under the leadership of our Board of Education and city leaders, our school system has developed into the best in Georgia,” Sazera said.
When reviewing her educational high points, she believes her greatest teaching successes far surpass that of her degrees and awards. “Although many consider degrees and awards to be great milestones, I believe the daily positive effect I have on my students is my greatest accomplishment in teaching. When I have one of “those days” when the moon is full or the kids just don”t seem to get it, I try to focus on the difference I am making.”
Her best contribution to education thus far has been made during the last ten years as an ESOL teacher. “English language learners desperately need a teacher who unconditionally accepts their unfamiliar background and never assumes they understand even the simplest vocabulary,” she recalls. Through innovative teaching methods that include various visual aids, props, simulation activities, interactive media and guest speakers, Sazera has helped her students positively progress towards learning and understanding the English language, so that one day they will be as fluent as a native speaker.
“Each day I have the opportunity to affect the future by teaching, influencing, motivating and challenging children. It is a great reward to know that even among my many mistakes, I have been able to make a positive difference and set in motion the intellectual growth of many children,”