Many teachers know how to teach their material creatively, but Anne Blech’s ability to help students learn by unlocking their own creative potential is what sets her apart. She created the Museum of Living History, a walkthrough museum where every student in the school researches and dresses as their assigned historical character and delivers a one-minute speech when they are approached, and she encouraged her students to present book reports in unique ways, such as from inside a cardboard box decorated like a TV as if they were news reporters.
“Anne is always full of creative and engaging ideas for teaching that reach a variety of learning styles,” said Renee Aguilar, a fellow teacher at Linda Vista Adventist Elementary School.
Blech is also responsible for Linda Vista’s reputation for having excellent drama productions. She started the drama department and coordinates large drama productions that include every student from kindergarten to eighth grade.
“She makes sure that every student has some part in the play, which is no easy feat,” Aguilar said. “She does a great job of identifying and building on our students’ talents and strengths.”
The students have performed musicals such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Annie,” “The Sound of Music,” and others to sold-out crowds each
year. Blech also started an afterschool drama club to provide drama enthusiasts with additional coaching in stage presence, voice projection and body animation.
“The drama experience has been instrumental in developing leadership and poise in our students,” said Sharron Crooms-Schwartz, principal of Linda Vista. “Many of our students go on to become high school leaders as a result of this experience.”
In addition to helping students learn, Blech has taken strides to help other teachers learn, as well. When the Southern California Conference implemented the new Pathways Reading Program, Blech mentored other teachers in the conference on how to use the program, and she was on the Pacific Union Conference committee focused on fine tuning classroom implementation of the program.
“Our students’ test scores in reading have consistently improved since
implementing the program,” Aguilar said. “Anne has been an inspiring colleague to work with and always has our students’ and school’s best interests in mind.”
Although she has wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl, Blech believes that God led her to the profession and gives her what she needs to bring children to Him.
“It is God who gives us all the strength to meet the challenges we face every day,” Blech said. “He is the one who gives us the insight to know when a child struggles or is hurting. He is the one who gives us the right words to say to a child who needs encouragement.”
Blech deep love for God and her students is obvious in the eyes of those around her.
“Anne is consistently enthusiastic, insightful and dedicated to her Lord, her family and her students,” Schwartz said. “She upholds the Seventh-day Adventist standards with love and encouragement with the ultimate goal of ‘making God look good and inviting’ to her children and their families.”
Anne Blech’s award ceremony was on Thursday, May 22, 2014, at Linda Vista Auditorium at Honors Night.
Alumni Awards Foundation Board Member, Dr. George Harding, presented the award to Anne Blech.
View Anne's and other Excellence in Teaching Award recipients' stories on our blog. You can also see more photos in our gallery.