A Dorchester District 2 teacher was nominated for the Lifechanger of the Year presented by the National Life Group and the National Life Group foundation.
Pren Woods, a teacher at Alston Middle School, was nominated by Rachel Edwards, the media specialist at the school.
The Lifechanger of the Year is given to celebrate people in students’ lives who make a difference by demonstrating excellence, positive influence and leadership.
Woods said that the nomination is a humbling experience. He said that in his 22 years of work in education it can often be hard work and often times you never know if you are making an impact. Woods said that his nominee page has over 300 comments and that makes all of the hard work worth it.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be a Lifechanger nominee,” Woods said.” Often, we do not hear about our impact. So, to go to my nominee profile and see over 300 comments in less than a month is so validating.”
Woods said that it is always good to be recognized for his efforts in the classroom. He said that the comments on his nominee page always make him emotional and compel him to be better.
“It’s fantastic. Daily, I read the comments that come in. I well with a lot of emotion. The comments compel me to do better, to do more, to never tire,” Woods said.
In her nomination Edwards described Woods as a dedicated educator who works to make history relevant to his students and keep them engaged in the classroom. She described how he used history to teach the students about soft skills like communication, professional dress, eye contact and interviews.
“One of the first experiences I had with him was when we worked together with his classes on a research project involving important people from ancient civilizations,” said Edwards on the nominee page. “The students were divided into groups to research these people, and after completing their projects, Mr. Woods invited me into his classroom to observe the finished products. He made history relevant to today’s world by creating a work environment where the students had to go through a mock job interview using the information they had acquired through their research.They used their research to answer questions posed by Mr. Woods, who was interviewing each candidate for a particular position in his ‘company.’ He randomly selected one person from each group to be interviewed, but all of the students had to be dressed professionally, and they each observed as he pointed out the importance of a firm handshake, eye to eye contact, and demonstrating professional behavior during the interview process.”
Edwards also praised the connection that Woods has with his students saying that he expects a lot from his students, but they all love him and his support.
She said that his impact can be seen after students leave the classroom as many keep in touch with him and he can often be seen on their social media celebrating life events and milestones with them.
Woods said that Edwards words took him back to his early days of teaching. It reminded him that all of the success he has is always shared with his students.
Woods said that being a Lifechanger is making a difference in his students lives. Also he said that it is not just about teaching its about creating a positive impact in the community.
“I believe that I am making a difference in my students’ lives and in my school, my community, and the world,” Woods explained. “My being a Lifechanger nominee is not just about teaching, it’s about me as a human being. I endeavor in any way I can to effect positive change in all the worlds that I happen.”
If selected as the winner of the Lifechanger of the Year award, Woods will receive $10,000. $5,000 for an individual gift and $5,000 for the school/district.