KALAHEO — Ever since she was a little girl playing school with her brothers, Marly Madayag knew she wanted to help students learn.
What started as a dream came full circle as the Kalaheo Elementary School teacher was named the 2015 Kauai District Teacher of the Year.
“It’s all a bit of a whirlwind,” said Madayag, who received recognition this week on the floor of the state House as part of Education Week in Honolulu. “It was very exciting because we all got to go to the Capitol — and being honored by so many people and getting so many phone calls. I’m just really humbled because I’m just a teacher. I work with kids every day and to have this honor is humbling.”
Eight other teachers from around the state were also recognized.
Madayag earned $500 from the Polynesian Cultural Center, a license to use a special program online and a certificate of achievement in addition to her new title.
She was awarded because of her creativity and organizational skills, in conjunction with training in special education, gifted and talented program, all of which allows her to meet the needs of her students, a press release said.
“I’m passionate about it. I love it and it’s something that I’m good at,” Madayag said. “So, because I have that inside me, I put everything that I am into my teaching and because I do that, your teaching comes back to you in a way that you grow and you experience things and you love what you do every single day.”
Madayag’s teaching style encourages students to discover new information and do their best to find answers to their questions.
“I think that my most favorite part of teaching right now — because of the new curriculum — is actually learning the new curriculum,” said Madayag, who was back in her classroom Wednesday prepping for classes once they resume following spring break. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that my favorite part of teaching is learning new things. It may be the most difficult thing to go through, but your inner growth as a teacher becomes so deep, you just continually learn with kids.”
Madayag began her career at Ala Wai Elementary School on Oahu where she taught for six months before she moved to Kauai and worked at Koloa Elementary School for 10 years. She has worked at Kalaheo Elementary School for 13 years, where she teaches reading, writing, social studies and English to fifth graders.
She said the reward of learning never gets old.
“That’s the best place to be in the world, at least it is for me,” Madayag said. “Every teacher finds their niche and for me elementary school students are perfect because they have just the right amount of play, just the right amount of innocence, just the right amount of energy and just the right amount of curiosity.”
Your teaching comes back to you in a way that you grow and you experience things and you love what you do every single day”
Kauai District Teacher of the Year