Early Childhood Educator Rochelle Hostler Earns Outstanding Teaching Award
Experience and passion mixed with a strong dose of critique for both the students and the professor led Rochelle Hostler, lecturer in Kent State University’s School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, to be awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award.
The Outstanding Teaching Award is the university’s highest honor recognizing full- or part-time nontenure-track faculty members for achievements in teaching. The award is sponsored by the University Teaching Council and is presented to three finalists annually. Ms. Hostler was recognized at the University Teaching Council’s Celebrating College Teaching conference luncheon last fall.
“Rochelle amazes me with how she communicates with everyone, both our class of college students and the preschoolers she teaches,” says early childhood education major Jessica Tuten, who nominated Ms. Hostler for the award. “She always knows exactly what to say, how to say it and does so without any hesitation.”
Ms. Tuten nominated Ms. Hostler for her outstanding communication abilities, support and understanding inside and outside the classroom.
The Outstanding Teaching Award nominees are highly regarded by their students, and Ms. Tuten and her fellow classmates felt that Ms. Hostler was very deserving of this award.
“My classmates and I talked about how much we loved Rochelle and how we wanted to have her again in another class,” Ms. Tuten says. “She really deserves this, and as a future teacher myself, I think it would mean a lot to me to make a difference like this in someone’s career.”
Ms. Hostler says she was extremely grateful to even be nominated for such an award and to then be a recipient of the award.
“I feel very honored and flattered to be recognized for my work,” Ms. Hostler says. “I work really hard to enact meaningful curriculum for my students, and I’m constantly revising my courses after reading my students’ feedback.”
Ms. Hostler shared how she talks a lot about her own experiences and struggles with her students so they can recognize and learn from these challenges.
“When you work in early childhood education, you bring yourself into the classroom,” Ms. Hostler says. “You need to be able to bring yourself fully to the classroom, and I tell my students that children are intuitive, so you need to be honest and authentic when interacting with them.”
Ms. Tuten describes how Ms. Hostler makes learning in a three-hour class feel more like a conversation and how she has never had a class so enjoyable and beneficial to her education.
“I try to work with future teachers the same way I want them to work with young children, Ms. Hostler says. “I focus on social constructivism, where meaning and knowledge are made in collaboration with others.”
Ms. Hostler tries to give students opportunities to share their thoughts with their fellow classmates and to learn how to give and take critique because this will happen throughout their future careers.
“I tell my students that critique should move your practice forward, and I try to help my students understand how to give and receive meaningful critique,” Ms. Hostler says.
Ms. Tuten says Ms. Hostler relates her teaching back to what the education program focuses on, which is a constructivist approach. She also appreciates how Ms. Hostler constructs her teaching around what students want to learn and then applies it to teaching as a whole.
“She has told us before that through teaching and mentoring us, she is able to reach more children than she could possibly teach on her own,” Ms. Tuten says.
Ms. Hostler chose this field because she deeply cares about children and school, and she loves that her job allows her to positively influence teachers and their students.
“I want to give these future teachers the skills to be the best teacher they can be,” Ms. Hostler says. “I tell them that they are going to spend a lot of time with thousands of children, and they will impact these children throughout their lives.”
Ms. Tuten says that Ms. Hostler is different from other teachers because she personally cares about each and every one of her students inside and outside the classroom.
“Rochelle’s enthusiasm for children makes every class very enjoyable and different from any other class,” Ms. Tuten says. “She personally reaches out to people outside the classroom and has recommended other students for jobs and positions without them even asking her to do so.”
Ms. Hostler was very thankful to be recognized for such an award by one her students, and she also felt a bit nervous going into the awards luncheon.
“I believe that it’s good to feel a little bit nervous because it means that you care about what you are doing,” Ms. Hostler says. “I care about our field and this university. We all do important work here, and we deserve to be recognized.”