Shirland School teacher earns honor with family by her side - – Rockford’s News Leader

Shirland School teacher earns honor with family by her side


After working as a lifeguard for a number of years, Shirland School's Mrs. Heather Dobnick knew she wanted to help people. Now, she does that everyday, with her students.

"She's the best teacher in the world," says Madyson Dobnick.

Mrs. Dobnick isn't just Madyson's teacher, though. She's her mom, too, and to Madyson, a pretty awesome one. After I surprised her with the Teacher of the Week award, their excitement and shock was obvious.

"I don't see myself doing anything different than what I love to do," says Heather Dobnick, a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at Shirland School. "I love to make connections and keep learning engaging, and try to keep it fun for them."

Dobnick says she originally had other career plans in mind, but a change of heart got her in the classroom.

"When I was little, my dad would bring home blueprints," she says. "We would study blueprints, and I would always want to draw and make houses. But then I became a lifeguard and worked with kids and really realized that's where my heart was, developing programs and working with kids one on one."

Her dad was in on the surprise, too, which brought up a lot of emotions. They both shed a few tears of joy together. But apart from the tears, I got a chance to see what the kids love about Dobnick, her activities.

"Yesterday the students were taxed all day long for papers or pencils, or activities they had to do to really get the feeling of being taxed like a colonist," Dobnick says."

Something she says the kids just couldn't get enough of, and to her, that's what's most important, her students' happiness.

"Oh the kids are exactly why I love teaching," she says. "It's the reason I come to school everyday. It's the reason I love my job."

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