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Windermere Observer Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 1 week ago

Influencer of the Week: Precious Ferguson, Chain of Lakes Middle School

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Precious Ferguson is the Teacher of the Year at Chain of Lakes Middle School.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Precious Ferguson teaches eighth-grade science at Chain of Lakes Middle School and recently was named the school’s Teacher of the Year. She is valued as an effective educator who has demonstrated her ability to be innovative in the classroom by creating and maintaining an engaging learning environment for her students. She also is known for exuding positivity for her students and going above and beyond her basic obligations as a teacher.

2. What do you love most about your school?

I love the overall diversity of people here at Chain of Lakes.  Our faculty, staff, and students alike all have rich cultural backgrounds and stories.  I love asking my students about where they come from, their beliefs and how much of their culture is passed down from generation to generation in their households.  Not only is there diversity in ethnicity and culture, but also in beliefs, personal values, and socioeconomic statuses.  It’s a blessing to be able to teach in a place that reflects what it’s like in the real world.  I get to take advantage of this school quality when teaching my students about character traits and/or habits such as being mindful of other people’s perspectives and experiences, appreciating the differences in each other—especially when those differences help us to grow and learn new things, and about being grateful for their own lives and experiences.

What's your favorite part of your job?

I get to connect with people and bring value to their lives—not just my students, but parents and colleagues, and administrators alike.  I get continuous opportunities for learning, growth and reflection—personally and professionally.  

What made you want to take on this job?

Honestly, I never thought I’d be teaching.  The opportunity kind of “fell in my lap.” I happened to be conversing with a friend of a friend whose bridal shower I was attending.  Her in-law was in need of a science teacher, and I happened to have been a science major who had been a homemaker for 4 years but ready to work.  I acquired my first position as teacher at a small private school.  The following year, I came to the Public School sector and everything just began to work in my favor in such a way that I knew that Education is right where I’m supposed to be for this season of my life.  I’ve experienced so much growth and have had many accomplishments since becoming an educator. 

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

I believe I just have a Spirit of Excellence.  I put forth my best effort in everything that I do.  The quality of my personal and professional reputation is important to me.  If someone trusts me with a job, a position, or title, and I accept, carrying out the responsibilities with excellence is my way of demonstrating gratitude for opportunity they’ve given me. Also, my philosophy as teacher is to “Be the teacher I’d want my daughters to have.”

What's the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done with you?

It’s difficult to identify one particular nice thing that’s been done for, or with me. My love language is “acts of service,” so anytime someone takes notice of my duties and/or responsibilities as a mom, and how I juggle those daily with my career, while also living an hour away. That means a lot to me. For instance, a colleague who coaches one of the sports was having an end of the season celebration with her athletes. There was left over pizza and she knew that I was still in my room working. She brought pizza over to the girls and I and said that it was so that I didn’t have to cook dinner that night.

What’s your favorite place to eat?

I don’t think that I have a favorite place to eat, but since we’re on the go a lot, my girls and I eat at Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby’s often. I keep my apps on my phone handy so that I can rack up points with my purchases. LOL!

If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

I’d vacation anywhere in the world that I haven’t been before that’s safe, relaxing and provides once in a lifetime opportunities while I learn, grow and make beautiful memories with my daughters.

If you could have any superpower, what it be and why?

I’d have the power to free an individual of all of their fears, worries and insecurities with a gentle intentional touch.  I think the world we live in would have an entirely different dynamic if people were able to fully be who they are destined to be — operating in their gifts and talents without fear of judgement, failure, or not being accepted.  Fear is a burden that too many people carry (some unknowingly); and when our daily decisions are made with fear as the compass, it cripples our ability to soar in every aspect of ourselves and our lives.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I try to rest, relax and recuperate.  However I have a habit of always finding something to do. I like reading, live music, live comedy shows (laughter is healing), watching movies, and catching up with friends/family on the telephone. Sometimes, being busy with life gets you away from the people that help to keep you grounded. It’s important to find time to check in with the people that are important to you—for your sake and theirs. 

What was your favorite book growing up? 

I don’t remember having a favorite book in particular. But in my adolescent years I loved the Berenstain Bears collection. During middle school, I was very much into teen romance. Once I got to high school, I had less time to read for leisure because I had so much required novel reading for school.

What is your favorite sports team to cheer for?

I’m a true Nole girl! Lol. I’m a huge Florida State Seminole fan. I earned my undergraduate degree from Florida State University. Those were some of the most memorable years of my life.  

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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