Not everyone is cut out to teach at the middle-school level, but Paige Blevins is what Lodi Middle School Principal Scott McGregor describes as “a perfect fit.”
Blevins, a seventh-grade math teacher at Lodi Middle School on South Ham Lane, has been named Teacher of the Year for the Lodi Unified School District. She will be honored at Tuesday’s school board meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the James Areida Educational Support Center, 1305 E. Vine St., at Guild Avenue, Lodi.
“Kids (in middle school) are going through a lot of physical and emotional changes,” McGregor said. “Teachers either understand the middle-school student or they don’t. It might be difficult for the rest of the world to understand.”
Blevins has taught off an on at Lodi Middle School since 1990. She took eight years off beginning in 2000 to be a stay-at-home mom. She taught half-time in 2007 and 2008, was laid off the following year and was rehired as a full-time teacher in 2010.
Blevins has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a math supplementary degree from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction.
She lives with her husband of almost 15 years, Dewey Blevins, and sons, Mack, 13, and Harrison, 10. Mack happens to be a student in one of his mother’s math classes.
Blevins spoke to News-Sentinel staff writer Ross Farrow about her life as a teacher.
What do you enjoy the most about teaching?
Making something that’s difficult easy to understand for students and breaking it down.
Many teachers say they would hate to teach at the middle-school level. Why do you enjoy it?
It has to be a teacher who wants to be here, and it’s hard to find. I would be nowhere else. I love Lodi Middle. I love it because I can teach math all day.
What are the keys to being an excellent teacher?
Compassion, patience, understanding the student and what is going on at home, a strong knowledge of your subject matter.
How do you manage your time as a teacher?
Math is great. I don’t collect papers. I’d have 108 if I did. I put grades into the computer at home and email parents from home. I spend an hour or two on weekends for work.
Is there too much emphasis on a data-driven culture?
I think testing is just one form of evaluating a student. I think there are other ways to measure what a student is worth. One day, they take the test and they may be sick. As long as (the test) is just one snapshot.
Should the method of evaluating teachers be strengthened?
(Evaluations) don’t worry me, but we end up with teachers who slide through, and maybe they should consider another profession.
Is reducing class size beneficial? How do you pay for it on a lean district budget?
Lower class size does provide results. I have 35 in a class. We need to make it a (financial) priority. We have no trouble getting arenas built. (Class size) is the best investment. Kids are our future.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.