William Truong, a teacher at Valencia High School (VHS) was one of ten teachers from around the country honored recently by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) for excellence in teaching students with advanced academic abilities.
Truong was honored during the Sarah D. Barder Fellowship Conference, held Feb. 23-24 at The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. This was the 30th anniversary of the conference, which brings new and past fellows from around the country together to share ideas and best practices about educating bright students.
Truong, a biology teacher, says that understanding the organization of life, from cells to biosphere, is essential in explaining how and why life exists.
“Each of these components, no matter how small, has a purpose and contributes to our amazing Earth,” he says. “I approach teaching in a similar way, looking for the unique talents and passions that every student has.”
He takes care to incorporate his students’ talents and interests into his biology lessons. Junjyeok, the ninth grader who nominated him for this award, recalls a recent project in which Truong asked students to make a stop-motion video on meiosis.
“While challenges should remain difficult, I believe that challenges should remain enjoyable. This is exactly what Mr. Truong does,” Junjyeok says.
This year’s Sarah D. Barder Fellowship Conference theme was “Whole Teacher, Whole Child,” and the program emphasized how to promote a healthy classroom. Teacher honorees shared stories about challenges that stand in the way of a healthy learning environment, such as students’ increasing dependence on devices and its effect on their ability to focus on schoolwork; poverty and other household stressors students bring to school with them; and the expectation for teachers to be in constant contact with families.
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