by Amy Haggerty
In this age of technology in the classroom, English teacher Pam Gower taps into creative ways to engage her ninth grade students and inspire them to learn. Every day, her students use digital tools to express their learning via videos, websites and podcasts. She also teaches sociology, an elective class, with students grades 9 through 12.
Jeff Trapp, SHS principal said Gower is “compassionate about her students. She wants her students to be better not only for themselves, but for the greater good.”
Gower grew up in the Sterling Heights area and was raised by her mother. A Michigan State graduate, she has a bachelors degree in English and a masters in curriculum and teaching.
Gower credits part time jobs, in part, for eqipping her with a diverse background. “During my college years,” she said, “I worked at Meijer in Sterling Heights, The Cookie Factory and Bottoms Up in Okemos.”
While in high school, Gower’s passion for reading blossomed. She cited authors as her greatest influences, and said several inspired her to become a teacher. Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume helped cultivate her love of literature, she said, and these passions continue to inspire her to convey her love of reading and writing to others.
After college, Gower gave birth to son Weber, now twelve years old. She is engaged to Ryan Andrews, and the couple is busy making plans to marry next July. She met her fiance while on break from teaching and working at Foods For Living, East Lansing.
“I really like the staff,” Gower said of teaching in Stockbridge. “There is always someone to support me and give me advice, materials, and assistance, especially when I want to try something new.” She added, “I also like the way the students and families all seem to know each other. Kids have extended family through friends that support them, and that’s really inspiring to me.”
Using some of her own funds plus financial support from grants and the school, Gower transformed her dream of a classroom library into reality. She also created an after-school club on Wednesdays. There staff and students craft, relax, and learn together.
Gower believes creating relationships between people, ideas and creativity forms the basis of joy in life. This conviction helps her make tough decisions and frames her daily lessons.
Her advice to her students is to “appreciate your free education and make the best of it by coming to school every day with curiosity. Gain knowledge and be creative.”