It’s a gift to be able to deeply connect with middle school students. Some might even call it a superpower — and it’s a superpower for which Emma Moss is being honored yet again, this time on a state level.
Moss, who teaches Digital Literacy and Utah Studies at Eastmont Middle School, has been named as one of five finalists for the honor of Utah Teacher of the Year. She was named Canyons’ 2020 Teacher of the Year in May.
Moss has been praised for her ability to connect with all students. She received a $1,000 cash award through Jordan Credit Union for being named Canyons’ Teacher of the Year.
Moss was humbled to find out about the honor of being named as a finalist for Utah Teacher of the Year last week. “For me, it’s a great honor to be able to represent educators throughout the state, particularly at this time where we are all having to be very innovative and step out of our comfort zone,” says Moss.
During Canyons District’s “soft-closure” due to COVID-19 last spring, Moss used her tech-savvy to step in and assist other teachers in the transition to online learning.
She will be teaching a College and Career Awareness Class, as well as a Study Skills course in the coming school year. “This year’s going to be an adventure, and adventure is where you learn,” says Moss.
As she prepares to embark on her fourth year of teaching, Moss says she hopes to continue to help students realize their passions and then take those passions out into the community to affect change in their school and their neighborhoods.
“Just because they’re in middle school doesn’t mean they’re incapable of making a difference,” says Moss, who often invites guest speakers from outside of school to come in and inspire students to solve problems in their community. Moss believes in inspiring students to be innovative. For example, one of her students recently created an app based on geolocation which silences your phone if it recognizes you are in church, in school, or an important meeting.
“I want to encourage students to take what’s important to them and go out and make change in their community. We talk about how we should treat people and why it matters,” Moss says. “Things that really transcend learning, things that they can take with them.”
Moss joins the following Utah teachers in the final stage of the Utah Teacher of the Year selection process:
- John Arthur, Salt Lake City School District
- Rae Boren, Jordan School District
- Amy Grgich, Tooele School District
- Ryan Wells, Granite School District
The final selection will be made in September. The Utah Teacher of the Year receives $10,000 and the right to represent Utah to vie for the national title. According to the Utah State Office of Education, the Utah Teacher of the Year’s mission is to “expand and promote the role of teacher leaders in Utah, supporting retention efforts at the Utah State Board of Education.”
Moss says that, when she was looking for a teaching job, she was attracted to Canyons schools because “of the values they had … because of the vision and the goals to get to that vision.”
Canyons schools embrace engaging strategies and innovative instructional practices to make sure that every child is college- and career-ready at the time of graduation, she says, “so we can help our students grow and be prepared for whatever life throws at them.”