Sarah Schaefer is a forever student.
The Golden Apple Award winner said, "That's the part of the love for teaching that I have: always trying to find a new way of doing something."
In her fourth year teaching at Roosevelt High School in Rockford, she has never stopped learning.
"She's still a student ya know?" Senior Bere Galvan said. "She's always up for learning. She's still learning from colleagues, from us, everything. She never stops learning."
It's that openness to learning new things that she brings to all aspects of the classroom, making herself available to students.
"As a teacher, I believe that needs to be a part of teaching. Opening yourself up to students so they feel they can come to you for anything. Not just curriculum or content," said Schaefer.
Also the schools robotics coach, it's that mindset that has given her a special bond with students and they have embraced her with open arms.
"We call her coach, we call her mom. We go to her with our problems. Whenever we need advice she's always there for us," said Galvan.
It's relationships that are important for any successful teacher, but those relationships are that much more meaningful at a school like Roosevelt.
"Roosevelt's different in general," said Galvan. "The teachings in general. The students are a little different. A lot of kids here did have difficulties in the past but here's where they make the change."
Now a Golden Apple teacher, Sarah's heart will always be there for her students.
"To my students: I love you," said Schaefer. "Thank you for teaching me. I wouldn't be the teacher I am without learning from them."