Legendary literature teacher ‘yelps’ students to success – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – WISH-TV is proud to honor some of central Indiana’s most outstanding teachers with our Golden Apple Trophy.

The prize comes with a check for $500, a trophy and a big surprise. The winner for March is Jocelyn Sisson, AP literature, language and composition professor at North Central High School.

Sisson has spent decades helping students write their own stories. She demands that children do their best and is known for “barking”, a term her students use to describe her teaching method of yelling and helping.

“She’s small but mighty,” said Andrew Hodson, the AP/ACP coordinator who also teaches anthropology and theory of knowledge. “She’s just a ball of energy, passion, drive – she’s got a great sense of humor.”

“She’s electrifying in a classroom,” added Greg Lineweaver, the English department chair.

“This warm inquirer that she is brings out the best in our students,” said Principal Evans Branigan III.

Sisson spent more than 20 years of her 32-year teaching career at North Central. During this time, Sisson built a reputation.

“She doesn’t suffer from fools, you know?” said Hodson. “She calls the balls and hits as she sees them. She is always ready to bring her wisdom and experience into the conversation.

“She’s smart,” Lineweaver added. “It’s something that I find empowering as a colleague and professional.”

Sisson is a stay-at-home mom and school matriarch.

“She’s definitely sinking into the deep end and she won’t accept, won’t accept mediocrity,” Branigan said.

As director, Branigan says he learned many lessons from Sisson over the years.

“She taught me a lesson as an associate director, basically about compassion and empathy for people,” Branigan said.

Sisson’s empathy shines through and shapes his students, like senior Samuel Hammons.

“This year and last year, Ms. Sisson really touched me a lot,” Hammons said.

He presented Sisson with an award when the school’s top 25 seniors recognized their most influential educators.

“She’s a very laconic teacher. She’s not going to say, ‘Oh, good job but you have to fix it.’ She’s going to say, ‘No, that’s wrong. You have to change that’, which really helps “Even though that kind of gives her a reputation for being strict, that’s really what makes her teaching so powerful and so good because you know that if you make a mistake she will tell you how to fix it,” said Hammons said.

Sisson is honest. His strict and always pedagogical approach is appreciated by the students.

Junior Devon Kroupa-Haberski and many other students agree that “yelping” is unique, but works. They also adore Sisson’s personality.

“[Sisson] is very engaging,” Kroupa-Haberski said. “She’s absolutely hilarious, but she’s also really good at getting her point across.”

Sisson also gives his time. She helps run a 10th grade “Panther Exploration Project” where students explore careers. Sisson also keeps time slots open before, during, and after school to meet students one-on-one.

There is even a huge whiteboard in his classroom to organize the many meetings.

“His door is always open and you can talk to him,” Kroupa-Haberski said. “And she is really kind and caring. She really cares about her students. »

Sisson puts students in control of their education, and Kroupa-Haberski’s mother, Shenan Kroupa, noticed.

“A teenage girl wants to talk to her mom and it’s often either about the fun things she does in class or the really tough things she makes them work on. I’m thrilled when I get reports from my daughter about this what happens in the classroom… It prepares them for college but also just to be thinkers in our community,” Kroupa said.

Kroupa was so impressed with Sisson that she wrote a letter to WISH-TV nominating Sisson for the Golden Apple Award. Sisson’s students and peers agree that she is worthy.

“To see someone rewarded for working so hard is just awesome,” Hodson said. “A little justice in the universe.”

“It’s refreshing to see that not only the students who work with her or her colleagues – but now Indianapolis and beyond – will see the good work [Sisson] done,” Branigan added.

That’s why Hanna Mordoh from News 8 went to surprise her. Sisson screamed in joy and shock when she saw students, staff and television cameras during the surprise. The students cheered as Sisson received the trophy and a check for $500 from the sponsoring partner of the Golden Apple Award Bailey and Wood Mortgage Lender.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Sisson said. “I mean, hearing people I respect say they respect me and have learned from me… You’ve interviewed people I care about as colleagues and as intellectual conversationalists and to hear that they respect me as much as I respect them. , I mean, what greater reward is that?

Through tears and happiness, Sisson expressed how teaching is not the “grateful” job that many people describe.

“My students taught me a lot about teaching, so I feel lucky to continue learning and working with people I respect. I really love my students. I mean, you know people are like, really? And I love my students. It is interesting to hear it described as a thankless task. I don’t think teaching is a thankless job. I think the reward of teaching for me, 32 years later, is actually seeing the learning that has happened,” she said.

Sisson is clearly on a mission to prepare students for college and is someone the people she teaches truly look up to. She went to both Harvard University and Brown University. Her upbringing is not something she brags about. However, it is a fact of which his students are very proud.

For Sisson, his proudest moment is watching these young people grow into dynamic writers.

“The reward is seeing my students learn and I think the greatest gift I can give my students is the ability to learn to write. is rewarding. It’s rewarding and the relationships I share with my students are rewarding for me. So I think it’s a task where if you do it right, you get a lot of acknowledgments,” Sisson said.

To see other Golden Apple Award winners, click on this link.

To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award, submit a detailed application here.

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