English and Journalism Teacher, Choctawhatchee High School
Linda Evanchyk has served as an educator for 38 years and in 2010, she received the honor of a lifetime when she was inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame.
What did it mean to you to be inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame?
It put public validation on the work I had done as an educator. It put me in the company of the most accomplished professionals in the field of education in our country. While this was a mark I aspired to reach, it still doesn’t seem real that others felt I had reached that mark.
How did your studies at UWF prepare you for the classroom?
Although my undergraduate degree is in communications, I knew I wanted to teach so I took electives that helped me prepare to obtain a teaching certificate. I wanted to teach in a creative field such as journalism, speech or drama as well as in English. By combining that at UWF, I was given the best of both worlds. I had the content knowledge with communication arts, and I also received the experiences I needed to prepare me for teaching, including psychological foundations and a methods of teaching course.
Which UWF faculty member or members most influenced you and in what ways?
Jack Gregory was instrumental in my success as an undergraduate. I remember his advice, “It’s okay for the students to see you as a person. Be the kind of teacher you are, not someone you aren’t.” That advice has served me well. Years later, as a graduate student in communication arts, Dr. Martha Saunders was my most influential instructor. Dr. Saunders started as a high school teacher, so she could relate to me. I was teaching all day and then taking her classes at night. As time went on, I admired how she accomplished so much with her research, her teaching and then taking on administrative duties. She served as chair for my master’s thesis, helping me work with it even when she was in London for a semester conducting research for her own work. I admire her as an accomplished educator, and I am so excited she is now the UWF president.