HomeBensalem TimesChristine Elberson is Bensalem High School’s Teacher of the Year

Christine Elberson is Bensalem High School’s Teacher of the Year

This history educator, who has been at BHS for 19 years, sees the school as her home away from home

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Bensalem High School has once again singled out one exemplary educator to receive the annual Teacher of the Year Award.

Joining the ranks of Col. John Church and Chelsea Root, the recipients in 2022 and 2023, respectively, is Christine Elberson, who has been teaching history to Owls for 19 years.

Elberson was informed of the honor during a recent pep rally, which was attended by the entire BHS community.

“I’m very, very excited,” she told The Times of this honor. “It’s nice, especially this time of year. It’s March, we’re all a little tired. And I’ve been here for 19 years, almost 20 years, so to be recognized and appreciated is really just special and helping me to finish the year strong.” 

There are quite a few reasons why Elberson was named Teacher of the Year, one being her longtime love for the school, where she once student taught.

“I just had such a great experience here. It’s really the only school and home I know, so I just never left because it is the best place to be,” she said. “These kids are just so loving and wonderful, it is my home away from home when I’m here. And it’s a great place to be for not only me, but I think the kids like coming here. Some of them are sad about having spring break for a couple of days because they’re going to miss all of us. I think it’s the environment that teachers here and the admin team create. I really don’t feel like you find this in other schools.”

Contributing to this environment is Elberson, who makes it a point to get to know all BHS students, even those not in her classroom, if she encounters them in the hallway or other common area. Ultimately, she’s a proponent of positive, face-to-face interactions, which she believes contribute to a successful learning experience. That’s why, whenever possible, she gives teens a break from their screens.

“I try to do more hands-on, project-based learning. Since COVID, all the kids are on the computer, every kid has a Chromebook, they’re on their phones. So I try to make sure that we’re not stuck on our technology. And they really tend to learn better. They’re just more engaged,” she said. “Any chance that they get to show they’re learning in a project and get to work with their peers is really when they thrive. If they get a chance to put away the computers, they’re so excited.”

Following the pep rally, a nameplate was added to the Teacher of the Year display in the front of the school. Elberson also received a gift basket filled with coffee, books and other favorite items. 

The BHS Teacher of the Year Award is a teacher-led initiative, with a committee picking the winner through an inclusive process that involved teachers, students and administrators. Each of the five building administrators initially nominated two teachers. Teachers and students then voted, and three finalists were chosen. After this, the three finalists’ names were submitted to the BHS administrative team, which, as a group, chose the winner.

This year, the three finalists were: Elberson, Nicholas Lyczkowski and Lisa Tokmajian. 

The BHS Teacher of the Year is defined as “a dedicated educator who demonstrates commitment and passion for their craft. Earning the admiration of the faculty, administration and students, this teacher challenges and engages students and is committed to their success — demonstrating a passion and joy of teaching that inspires the school community.”

It’s widely known that, since the return to in-person learning post-COVID, many educators have struggled to find joy in teaching for a variety of reasons, from unruly classrooms to an increase in technological requirements. For those who feel like they’re losing — or have lost — that spark, Elberson shared some words of advice.

“I would say to always lead with positivity. I know that that’s something I’ve been complimented on,” she said. “The more positive you are, the energy you put out there tends to return to you. So just making sure everyday you’re coming with a smile on your face, you’re engaging and just trying to be as positive as possible.”

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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