Teacher of the Week: Diana Kelly at Stephen Mack Middle School - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Teacher of the Week: Diana Kelly at Stephen Mack Middle School

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ROCKTON (WREX) -

The halls of Stephen Mack Middle School in Rockton are busy, filled with students with a lot of energy. 

7th grade teacher Diana Kelly says she embraces the chaos of middle school students. 

How does she keep up? "Got to have a sense of humor," she says.  

"It's middle school. Everyday is different. Everyday is interesting," Kelly says. "You never know what's going to happen." 

Even with the wildness of middle school, it is the only place she sees herself teaching. "I couldn't teach anything but middle school," she says.

The mother of one with another on the way, Kelly is herself in the classroom and allows her students to be the same. 

"They want to know the name," Kelly says. "They ask a lot of questions. It is fun."

"She's able to really harness that energy into their academics and truly gets to know them as a student," says Stephen Mack Principal Autumn Czizek.

Harnessing that energy through humor is one way Kelly keeps her kids engaged. 

"I teach social studies. It's not always the most exciting thing," Kelly says. "So to crack some jokes here and there and be cheesy, entertaining, whatever works. I think they think I'm funny." 

A positive spirit in the classroom that makes students want to be there. 

"I know if I'm having a bad day she can just put a smile on my face," says Payton Bird, one of Kelly's 7th grade students. "She's one of the best teachers I've ever had." 

Kelly knows it is that open relationship with students that help build success in the classroom. 

"We don't learn anything until the kids know they can trust me and that I am here for them."

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