October’s Top Notch Teacher: Tomah’s Amy King leads by example building relationships

King focuses on connections and community to create better students and better people

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) – A Tomah teacher believes students can make a difference before they graduate. Her teaching style produces praise from her students who say they are learning how to become better people.

A community consists of links between people, connections born out of a classroom.

“My in-class motto is better readers, better writers, better people,” said Amy King, an English teacher at Tomah High School.

“I would say that my teaching style isn’t traditional.”

For those who sit among Kind’s audience, don’t expect to sit still.

“She’s a very lively teacher,” said Kennedy Noth, a junior at Tomah High School.

King forms bonds with children so they look forward to school.

“Relationships are really important to me,” she said.

For King, high school is a remarkably important time.

“I think this is a pivotal time to be able to help students become mature and to make good decisions that are gonna benefit them down the line,” King said.

King knows. She too sat at these desks at Tomah High School.

“I think I just wanted to rebel a little bit and I didn’t want to be a teacher,” King said.

Until she finally took the wisdom of her mentors to heart and began teaching because she’s good with kids.

“I worked a little bit with a special ed population and that’s where I really decided that indeed I should return to get my teaching degree,” King said.

A June crash nearly cost this town five of Tomah’s young lives. Payton Pierce suffered severe injuries and spent weeks in the hospital. Amy decided to practice what she preaches in class every day.

“She came and she talked with us. She shared that it’s not just us that were close with Payton that feel bad and want to help,” King said. “It’s more than teachers it’s the entire community.”

King organized pinwheels for Payton. Within a few days, students made 3,000 pinwheels. A real example of the connections formed inside the classroom and the impact they produce out in the community.

“It allowed students to be able to do something to make a difference,” King said.

Not to mention the hardship COVID-19 created in education. King wrote students’ letters and drove them to their homes.

“Some students needed more of a pick-me-up and more of a push to get work done,” King said.

Her students hear her words of wisdom, and see how she lives those words.

“She was really good at reading her kids and it really helped,” Noth said.

Sophomore Brady Lehnherr said King is an ally for students. 

“It’s amazing,” Lehnherr said. “You can talk to her about anything.

Noth needed few words to say what King means to students.

“She’s just a really awesome teacher, that’s all,” Noth said.

Connections are locked together to last a lifetime.

“It’s really important I think that they feel that sense of relationship,” King said.

Those relationships reflect King’s character in Lehnher’s eyes.

“She’s just a great person,” Lehnherr said.

King said she wants every student to feel like they belong in the classroom. She strives to teach respect to all of her students as they grow as young adults.

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