Q & A with Amy Stover, NDA Teacher of Distinction


Reese Van Pay, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Although many Notre Dame Academy teachers received nominations for the Golden Apple Award, only Amy Stover was named a Teacher of Distinction. The Spanish teacher answered a few questions about her career as an educator.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 17 years, all at NDA.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I decided to become a teacher for better family-career balance. Prior to being a teacher, I was a Financial Analyst at Schneider National. Our first daughter was spending 9-10 hours at daycare some weeks, and we were preparing for our second daughter. We realized that it was time for a career change for one of us. In middle school my first dreams for a future career were to be a teacher. In high school I started to discover other things like Spanish and accounting and my career dreams took a turn. Now with a family, my priorities shifted. There was a need for Spanish/bilingual teachers in the Green Bay area, so I decided to give my first career dream a try because it would also allow me to be with our daughters more. This required a return to college for three semesters with a two- year-old and a six-month-old. I think it was always God’s plan for me to teach; it just took me a bit to really hear Him.    

What is the most challenging part about being a teacher?

I might have responded differently two months ago, but right now I feel a really challenging part about being a teacher is disconnecting students from their BYODs and PEDs. Students seem uninterested in taking notes and engaging with pen/paper. I feel the pandemic contributed to this as everyone, teachers and students, were thrown into technology overload almost overnight. Do not get me wrong, technology plays a strong part in learning, but students have become very dependent on technology to communicate and complete homework. I think some corners were cut while we were in full technology mode, and it has become more of a crutch than a learning tool for many students. So, it’s been a struggle to help students find a balance for technology use while learning.

What is the most rewarding part about being a teacher?

The most rewarding part about being a teacher is seeing things click for a student and empowering students with knowledge and skills that help them find direction and joy in learning. It’s making connections with students, some that last a lifetime. It’s encouraging a student that thinks there is no way to pass a class and is ready to give up because the hole is too deep to see there is still hope. It’s reassuring that student that although it will not be easy, with hard work and effort, we can grind it out together. Seeing the look on that student’s face turn from one of despair to one of hope and smiles is priceless. It’s having a student tell you via a thank you note that he now enjoys Spanish because I am his teacher. It’s the little day-to-day wins that are the most rewarding for me.   

What was your reaction when you heard you were named a Teacher of Distinction?

It was pretty cool to find out that I was one of thirty-five selected for this honor out of a pool of 130. Although I do not feel that I am doing anything that special because I am just meeting my students where they are at and helping them develop their academic potential, it is an honor to be recognized.