Golden Apple Award 2015: Paul Ellison

This is my ninth overall year teaching, I spent four years at the beginning of my career at Chauncey Rose Middle School, and this is my fifth year at Terre Haute South.

My freshman year of high school my eyes got opened to music and I became a lot more involved with it, and it was my freshman year that I ultimately decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I try to be very fast paced with the kids and if anybody walks into my class they are generally going to see students who are engaged in what they are doing, and they are going to see students that are hard at work and having fun at the same time. I try to keep my classroom environment pretty light, the kids seem to enjoy that and it makes them want to work that much harder.

“Well for one he’s a workaholic, he’s here at the crack of dawn, he’s here bright and early, always extremely well prepared,” explained Terre Haute South Principal, Tammy Rowshandel. “He teaches bell to bell, there is instruction going on as soon as the kiddos enter the classroom until they leave the classroom, just very dynamic, you can tell he has a passion for his profession and a passion for music, it comes across in his day to day interactions with the kids.”

If you are passionate about what you do then your students will see that and your classroom environment will be absolutely fantastic.

Kids have what I like to call light bulb moments all the time, and you can tell in a student’s face when they get it. And when that happens for the first time those are priceless moments that you really can’t get back, and it’s a wonderful experience to be a part of when a student finally understands something and grasps a concept.

And it just changes there whole attitude and demeanor it’s a wonderful experience. As a teacher sometimes I wonder do my students really get, do they understand my passion, do they feel the same way. And there is days where I leave school and I just don’t think that they do, and then to be surprised with a nomination, it really lets me know that they do get it and that they do care.

It’s very humbling and that’s all I can really say, it’s a very humbling experience to know that your students care and your students’ parents care that much about what you are doing in the classroom every day to first take the time to nominate you, and then to be chosen out of all the people that have been nominated it’s just an extremely humbling experience. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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