Live With Kelly: Bryan Sawyer on Top Teacher Week
Top Teacher Week is now on its fourth day, which means that we got to meet our fourth finalist. At the end of the week, Live With Kelly viewers will choose between five incredible teachers who are making a difference in their schools and communities. Only one of them will become the Top Teacher, winning 25,000 dollars for his or her school and a brand new car. Today’s finalist, Bryan Sawyer, is a special education teacher at Karigon Elementary School in Clifton Park, New York. You should also checkout the other top teacher finalists: Monica Dunn, Wendy Martin and Danielle Greco. Who do you like the most so far? Leave a comment below to voice your opinion!
Bryan Sawyer: Karigon Elementary School
Bryan Sawyer is a special education teacher, and he is positively impacting the lives of his young students, many of whom are diagnosed with autism. When asked to describe him using just one word, Mr. Sawyer’s colleagues said words like “passionate, dedicated, amazing, and God-given.”
We got to see some clips of Mr. Sawyer working with his students, and it is obvious that he possesses an incredible amount of patience and compassion. Everyone interviewed, including the school’s principal, spoke of his unwavering dedication and his role as an advocate for his students. One teacher commented that, while many teachers try to fit students into their programs, Mr. Sawyer instead creates programs that fit his students. Another colleague noted that Mr. Sawyer inspires him to be a better teacher.
Many parents were interviewed about how Mr. Sawyer has changed the lives of their children. They were all so impressed by his willingness to help kids succeed. The father of Christian, a boy with autism, said that Mr. Sawyer made his son’s condition so much better for his family. Now, Christian is reading, talking, and doing things that his family never imagined were possible. The mother of a girl named Sarah, also autistic, said that she and her family were scared by their daughter’s diagnosis, and never imagined that she would be able to live a normal life. Now, they are encouraged and are saving for college. Even more remarkable, a set of autistic twins had never spoken until they entered Mr. Sawyer’s class. Now, they are both talking, and their parents got to hear their children say, ‘I Love You.’
Mr. Sawyer said that he believes his school is breaking down walls in terms of how special needs kids are treated in the classroom. He emphasized that yes, they may have their challenges, but these kids are just like every other kid and are just as important to their community.
Live With Kelly: Vote for Top Teacher Week
When Mr. Sawyer joined Kelly and Chris on stage, Kelly was very emotional and clearly touched by his story. Mr. Sawyer got a huge standing ovation from the audience. Chris thanked him for his work, and Mr. Sawyer said that these amazing success stories are the reason that he became a teacher in the first place. Kelly pointed out his unique style of teaching, and wondered what the key to his success was. Mr. Sawyer responded that he has a great, dedicated team behind them, and that it is important to set the bar high for special needs children. If you set the bar low, then they don’t succeed, but by setting the bar high, they will work hard to reach it. He also said that there is no limit to what his students can do.
Like the other Top Teacher Finalists, Mr. Sawyer was awarded the golden apple trophy. His school was awarded 40 Intel PCs with a tablet design, perfect for his students to use. Additionally, Mr. Sawyer was given a week-long trip to Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, for he and his wife to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
If you were inspired by Mr. Sawyer or any of the Top Teacher finalists, don’t forget to watch and vote for the winner on the Live With Kelly site.