GREAT FALLS — Many classrooms use the same tools to teach students - there’s whiteboards, books, maps, pens, and pencils - but it’s something that you can’t see that is helping students in a classroom at Paris Gibson Education Center learn.
“Without the teacher that I had, I wouldn’t be an educator,” Jordann Forster said.
Forster is a teacher at PGEC. She teaches American Indian studies and is an immersion teacher.
“I decided that I wanted to be a teacher about 8th grade. I really enjoyed how the educator made the story come alive. It was very exciting. I just decided that I wanted to do that with my life and I wanted to connect with kids that way,” Forster said.
Forster was born and raised in Great Falls. She went through the public-school system and says the connections she made with her teachers inspired her to be the way she is today.
“I was really inspired by the people that I worked with here in Great Falls and my own educators that I got to experience when I was going to school here,” Forster said.
But it’s the connection Forster made with her students that inspired Marcy Cobell to nominate her for Montana Teacher of the Year.
“Jordan is personable. She has a great affection for her students,” Cobell said. “She is one of our outstanding teachers in Great Falls Public Schools. I feel like she exemplifies her connection to students, the relationships that she builds with students, especially our Native American students, it’s really important that they feel that trust and that level of security from their teachers.”
Cobell is GFPS Indian Education Director. This is her first time nominating anyone for the Montana Teacher of the Year honor. She believes Forster should be praised for her work with the students behind the scenes.
“She can step outside that comfort zone and put herself in their shoes and really be a true human being. I think that is really important,” Cobell said.
Forster was a finalist for MT Teacher of the Year.
She’s been teaching for seven years.
“We have educators in this district that have 30 years on me. God bless them honestly. That’s incredible. It’s incredible to have a job where you are so invested that you just want to do what’s right for kids. And I really appreciate that,” Forster said. “I think that we are a collective group of educators that show up every day and want to engage students and educate them in the best ways possible.”