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Power of words pivotal in Toki teacher's classroom | News

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Power of words pivotal in Toki teacher's classroom
Power of words pivotal in Toki teacher's classroom

At a far west Madison school, the News 3 Topnotch Teacher for October 2013 is imparting on students the power that words can have on others.

In early October, Dana Munoz' sixth-grade class at Toki Middle School was working on its class contract, an agreement about how the students are going to interact with each other for the school year.

"Those usually include things they believe about themselves or they believe about the world and that they really want to happen," Munoz said. "It sets the tone or the foundation for the rest of the year. I refer to it all the time."

Munoz, who's been working at Toki for five years, teaches language arts and likes to emphasize to her students that words, whether written or spoken, can be quite powerful in good or bad ways.

"The words we say, the impact we have on others can make or break someone’s day," Munoz says. "Not only is it important to read and write, how we relate to one another can change the world."

Munoz chose to use her words to change the world through teaching. The University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate admits it’s not always easy.

“Teaching has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be," Munoz said. "You can’t just go into teaching because you like kids. You really have to be flexible and on your game every single day, 100 percent, because that’s what the kids deserve."

One student who she really made an impression on is now-seventh-grader Rhianna Prine.

"She's the first person who ever told me that I was a good writer and it meant the world to me," Prine said.

Prine has advanced writing skills and she aspires to use her words to build her future career as an author.

"I would like to be a young adult fictional writer," Prine said. She added that she might even dedicate her first book to Ms. Munoz.

"I learn every day , and every kid is different and every class is different," Munoz said. "I have 100 kids a day, so meeting the needs of 100 different people every day is a challenge but I love it."

Spoken like a true Topnotch Teacher.



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