Top Teachers

Saturday, December 12, 1998

Name: Toni Osgood
Age: 40
Position: Kindergarten teacher, Hauula Elementary
Education: University of Hawaii
Pastimes: Kayaking, animals, music, dancing, singing

Hoping the dream lasts forever

Toni Osgood owns 130 pairs of "teacher earrings" that she wears for "educational purposes." The Hauula Elementary teacher says she has almost every pattern under the sun, which helps when teaching her kindergartners the alphabet.

Each week, students are immersed in learning a different letter. For example, "B" week might see Osgood wearing blouses and earrings featuring "B" items, have students bouncing balls in physical education, reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear" and counting beans in math. If doing a cooking session, the recipe might be for brownies.

Osgood said students enjoy learning because it's like a game to them -- fun yet educational. It's fun for her also, as she's able to dress up in "costume" and perform for her class. "I've always wanted to be an actress," she said. "When I'm teaching, I'm acting."

In this case, "acting" means using a combination of song, movement and sign language to communicate directions to students.

Teaching partner Laurie Flores said Osgood's energetic methods make students want to learn. "When she reads a story or sings a song with the children, the whole room is filled with her energy and the students are a captive audience."

Osgood said teaching youngsters is a dream that makes her want to teach forever. "At that age they're so eager to learn. And if you make it fun, they're open -- they're like sponges."

Kimberly K. Fu, Star-Bulletin

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