By Ellie Tiemens
Jerome Flewelling ('97) was named 2018 Indiana State Teacher of the year. On Nov. 6 and 7, Flewelling visited Taylor University to speak in chapel and to education majors.
Flewelling, or "Flew" as he is more commonly known, graduated from Taylor with a degree in secondary physics education. Flewelling currently teaches physics, mechanics and engineering at Crown Point High School.
Flewelling also works tirelessly outside of the classroom as an assistant theater director, science department chair and official scorers of cross country and track and field meets. He has received many awards for his extracurricular involvement including the Most Influential Teacher Award, the Crown Point Teacher of the Year Award and now the Indiana State Teacher of the Year award.
"Jerome's career has been nothing short of diligently preparing students for life beyond high school, and I am honored to present this award to him." Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction said. "I know he will continue to represent his profession, and our fellow teachers, well."
Flewelling had the opportunity to encourage and advise future teachers on campus when he spoke to secondary education and science and math education majors.
Believing that some of the greatest challenges facing high school students today are equity and social-emotional issues, Flewelling encourages teachers to approach the classroom with intent to connect personally with students.
"I've also learned a lot about connecting with the students and how crucial that is to any classroom," Flewelling said. "You know, when your students come into your classroom, they want to know that they can trust you, they want to know that you believe in them, they want to know that you care about them first as a person and then about whether they learn your curriculum."
Beyond talking about education, Flewelling spoke in chapel about his time at Taylor - which included being part of the first Melon and Gourd - and his journey to becoming a teacher.
His primary message was about understanding what shapes your identity and how that can better help others understand their identity.
"My identity is not found in who I am, but my identity is found in who He is," Flewelling said. "Because I can try to be faithful, but He is always faithful. I can try to control the situations around me, but He is the one that is in control. I can try and live a sinless life, but He is sinless."