Monica Maloney Triton Teacher of the Year
Monica Maloney is Triton’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. Monica is a middle school math and language arts teacher. She has taught at Triton for 17 years, 12 years in 4th grade and five in 6th grade.
Monica graduated from Osakis High School and attended University of Minnesota, Morris. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a license to teach preschool through 6th grade. In 2010, she graduated from Concordia, St. Paul with a Master’s Degree and earned a license to teach reading to kindergarten - 12th grade students.
This past summer, Monica started a second master’s degree program and will earn her K-12 principal’s license from Minnesota State, Moorhead in the summer of 2021.
Over the years at Triton, Monica has enjoyed working with the teachers union as well as being a delegate for our state and national conventions for educators. She is also Triton’s District Assessment Coordinator.
As part of the nomination process for Teacher of the Year, colleagues write a brief explanation of who they are nominating.
Her colleagues wrote: Monica is a fantastic colleague to work with. She is always going above and beyond her duties to support student learning. She has students coming in before and after school seeking help, she is constantly communicating with families about how their students are doing, and she is always available to assist her colleagues. She takes on extra responsibilities when she knows that it is for the betterment of our school and students. Monica wears many hats within the building. She is not only a phenomenal teacher, but she is also the go-to person for union questions. She can help with any sort of issue and is always there to offer helpful advice. Monica goes above and beyond in all of the various roles that she occupies here at the school. She is a dedicated member to an array of committees and serves as a tremendous mentor to others. She is dedicated to her students and always looks to find the best in each student in her classroom. She makes it a point to reach out to families to let them know what is going on in her classroom and provides the necessary tools for success especially in this current model of learning. She always has a smile on her face and a willingness to make our school the best that it can be.
When asked, why did you become a teacher, Monica said, “ I always loved school and learning. When I was still in high school, I was able to create an independent study for myself that is similar to Triton’s senior project. I chose to create a student teaching experience for myself. Like Triton, our students in kindergarten through 12th grade were all in one building, so I was able to work with teachers in our elementary and secondary schools and teach some lessons to kids in several different grade levels. I was hooked! I loved helping other kids learn and knew that was what I wanted to do. At that time, I thought I wanted to be a science teacher. In college, I decided I liked working with younger students more, so I changed to an elementary education major.”
Teaching has many rewards and drawbacks, when asked what she found her rewards to be Monica said, “I enjoy watching a child who thinks they can’t do something realize that they can. There is nothing better than hearing from a student or a parent that their child really started to ‘get it’ in my classroom. I want all students to both enjoy their learning experience and grow as a learner, so when I hear that is happening, it fills my cup.” On the flip side, she said, “Teaching can be a 24 hour a day job. You have to find ways to balance the time you put in with taking care of yourself and your family. Sometimes it is hard for me to turn off my ‘teacher brain’. I have learned that it is important to set limits for myself and take up some healthy habits like running to clear my mind.”
When asked to share her teaching philosophy and how it affects students and parents, Monica said, “ I believe that all students can learn and that it is my job to create an environment that will help them learn to their full potential. I believe that with a growth mindset and hard work, anything is possible. In my classroom, I work hard to encourage students to be brave and try new kinds of problems, even if they are unsure if they can do them. I tell students that getting something wrong is better than not trying. I let them know when they try and make mistakes, I will be right there to help them until they are able to get it on their own. I celebrate our successes. I share my struggles with students to show them that struggling is a normal part of learning. I also believe that parents are my partners in helping their children succeed. I communicate with parents regularly and thank them for all they do to help our students reach their goals.
In addition to being Triton Teacher of the Year, Monica will become a candidate for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program has recognized excellence in teaching in Minnesota for 57 years. The program selects one teacher to represent the state’s thousands of excellent educators.