March Top Notch Teacher: Melrose-Mindoro’s Janet Woodward brings coaching mentality to learning

For one local teacher, seeing is believing and learning is achieved by doing. Her engaging, high-energy personality rubs off her students, who say they look forward to science and social studies every day.

“I try to teach like I want to learn. If I asked anybody to go into a time machine, nobody wants to go back through junior high again,” said Janet Woodward, sixth-grade science and social studies teacher at Melrose-Mindoro Public Schools.

Woodward has spent 26 years at the front the classroom at Melrose-Mindoro.

“(I’ve taught) a long time,” Woodward said. “But I’m not old yet.”

Her teaching style is very popular among her sixth grade pupils.

“It’s my favorite class of the day,” said Jaskson Boese, a sixth-grade student.

6th grade student Rawlins Clark had nothing but good things to say about his teacher.

“She’s a great teacher,” Rawlins said.

Woodward said she does everything she can to make learning an enjoyable experience.

“I don’t want to be the Charlie Brown teacher,” Woodward said.

For Woodward, the only way to truly understand science and social studies is to do apply it.

“Seeing is believing,” Woodward said. “Doing is believing, not just we read the textbook therefore it must be true.”

As a coach outside of the classroom, she lights a fire in her students so they get excited about school.

“I say, ‘I am handing out a test,’ and they yell, ‘Bring it on, Woodward,'” she said.

Sixth grade student Janae Waughtal said there is never a dull moment in Woodward’s class.

“It also makes me not fall asleep,” Janae said.

Woodward’s philosophy is not about having a dream, it’s having a plan.

“You can travel the world if you want,” Woodward said. “You can stay in the Melrose-Mindoro area if you want. Just be happy and be productive members of society.”

She tries to make everyone she coaches and teaches feel important.

“One of the biggest compliments I had as a coach was the kids made me a card and one of the girls said, ‘I am the shortest girl on the team and you insisted that I try to spike. You make
me feel tall,'” Woodward said.

Sixth-grade student Isabella Libke said Woodward can turn a bad day into a great day.

“I just like to come to her class a lot because it brightens the day,” Isabella said. “I’m impacting the future and it feels real good.”

Woodward’s expectation is giving 110 percent, even if you fail.

“You give it your all and then you get your rewards,” Woodward said.

Rawlins said Woodward is putting her students in the best position to be successful.

“She prepares you for next year and the years to come,” Rawlins said.

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