Converse Alumna wins Chemistry Teacher of the Year Award
By Alex Moore ’09
Converse College graduate and current high school chemistry teacher Dianne Earle recently won the 2008 Southeastern Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching for the Southeast Region of the American Chemical Society.
Earle was selected for the honor over 18 other teachers from the 10-state region. She is now in the mix for the National American Chemical Society Teacher Award, which will be presented in September.
The regional award is presented to nominated teachers who show evidence of leadership and/or active involvement within the profession, the ability to inspire and challenge students, and high quality teaching methods.
“I am very honored as well as humbled to have received this award. To be included among the caliber of these excellent teachers is a very humbling experience,” said Earle. “Chemistry is never boring because one can teach it using different methods and labs. I think a key to being a good educator is to always stay interested in your discipline and always be willing to learn new things.”
Practicing what she preaches about willing to learn new things, Earle’s active involvement in the field of chemistry beyond the classroom includes memberships of Palmetto State Teachers Association, Western Carolinas Section of the American Chemical Society, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and South Carolina Association of Chemistry Teachers.
Even though she graduated from Converse in 1979, Earle is still learning from the College. “Not only did Converse prepare me for the chemistry I currently teach in my high school classroom, it also prepared me to be an adjunct professor for a chemistry lab class last fall at Converse,” she said. “I had the opportunity to help Dr. (Jerry) Howe with the lab class, and he helped me by making me stretch in my thinking in doing labs for students. Converse has technology that I do not currently have in the high school, so I had to learn how to incorporate that technology in my lab classes. Converse really works with their students to ensure their success. The college really cares about their clientele.”
Melanie Cooper, immediate Past Chair of the Western Carolinas Section of the American Chemical Society, said “Dianne was an outstanding nominee; she has a wide range of activities and is an exemplary high school teacher.”
Earle, who teaches Honors Chemistry I and Advanced Placement Chemistry II at Boiling Springs High School, said that while she has won awards in her 35 years of teaching, it is the notes from former students who “thank me for helping them and making a difference in their life (that) really touches my heart. These notes sustain me and tell me to keep on keeping on.”