Southern Illinois University Edwardsville alumna Tiffany Flint is being honored for outstanding work as an educator who teaches, supports and empowers middle school students in Belleville.
Flint has received the Illinois State Board of Education Outstanding Early Career Educator Merit Award and the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award.
“It doesn’t feel like work if you love what you are doing every day,” said Flint, who teaches sixth grade composition at Whiteside Middle School. “I am honored and truly humbled to receive recognition for the job that I give my heart to. I teach in a building full of wonderful teachers who inspire me and our students daily.”
Flint earned a bachelor’s in mass communications from the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences in 2004. After working as a journalist for several years, she says she decided to follow her heart and become a teacher.
“As a reporter for a local paper, I covered a lot of school-related events,” she explained. “I had the opportunity to go into all the local schools, and cover the interesting educational successes of students and faculties. It was then that I felt the draw to be a teacher.”
Flint then achieved her master’s in teaching from SIUE in 2013.
“SIUE offers an exceptional education at a great value,” she said. “My instructors were incredible. They were able to individualize the program for each and every student, and help us grow into the teachers we are today. Their guidance, knowledge and passion for what they do shows in their teaching.”
She student taught at Whiteside Middle School and has now been there for five years.
“The best parts of my job are my students,” Flint explained. “A lot of people ask me how I can teach middle school students. It’s a tough age group for everyone. But, middle school is when kids are developing who they are and want to be. It’s awesome and powerful. I enjoy watching my students overcome their struggles and make their way in this world.”
Flint is committed to seeing her students succeed.
“I know that every day in my classroom I have someone’s everything; their daughters and sons, grandchild, younger or older sibling,” she said. “My students are special. They are someone.”
“Working in a high-poverty district, I am aware that not all of my students have a great or even safe home life,” she added.” I know some students who sit in front of me each Friday won’t eat again until school breakfast Monday morning. I have students who are at school every day, because they got themselves dressed and ready and chose to be there. I want all of my students to know that they can overcome anything with hard work and sheer determination.”