KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana University Kokomo graduate exemplifies what an excellent social studies teacher does, not only for her sixth-graders, but also for the next generation of teachers.
The Association of Teacher Educators-Indiana Unit chose Mary Page for its annual Outstanding Cooperating Teacher Award, a statewide honor recognizing her commitment to teacher education. She has hosted IU Kokomo education students in her classroom every semester for the last 10 years.
"I had great professors at IU Kokomo, who really cared about their students," Page said. "They provided opportunities for me to see what kind of teacher I wanted to be in my own classroom. Dr. Margo Sorgman was hard, but she showed me how to make students enjoy social studies, and see it as more than just history, that it's always part of their lives. Dr. Kathy Parkison helped me enjoy economics and teaching it to my students. I'm happy I've kept my relationships with IU Kokomo all these years. They've been invaluable to me and to my students, and that's priceless."
Page, a Peru native, earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1991, and a master's in education in 2000. She teaches sixth grade social studies at the International School at Central Middle School, in Kokomo. She began teaching in Kokomo shortly after earning her degree, and has maintained a long relationship with the campus.
Page worked with the School of Education to have an International Day festival on campus. Her students create educational displays about countries, which are judged by faculty and education students. The campus provides cultural activities, such as piñata making and dance, during the day. She also brings students for college visitation opportunities.
She's considered a leader in economic education, winning the Teacher of the Year award from the Indiana Council for Economic Education in 2011.
IU Kokomo nominated her for her most recent award, for her dedication to working with its students.
Dean Paul Paese called Page "an integral part of the teacher education program" at IU Kokomo.
"Mary provides an excellent example of what teachers should do," he said. "She always gives our students productive comments regarding teaching and assessing students, and shows best practices in teaching social studies, geography, and economics."
Recent IU Kokomo graduate Kristopher Dill completed his student teaching in Page's classroom during the spring 2013 semester, and said she was invaluable to his success. He just started his first job, teaching social studies at Kokomo's Bon Air Middle School.
"Mary Page loves children and teaching more than anyone else I know," he said. "She promotes colleagues and students to be the best they can be. She made my student teaching a great learning experience."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.