It’s Thursday-Thank a Teacher: Lynette Yorgason Edition

Lynette is an incredible teacher and a passionate advocate for her students. She wrote a powerful article on teaching tolerance and empathy to her high school students, that has gone viral! You can read her story, Utah’s New Standards – Now Featuring Empathy her story, on Sevenzo. The Utah Teacher Fellows are privileged to have Ms. Yorgason as a part of the inaugural cohort. Here is a little more about Lynette:

Where did you do your teacher prep? I completed my teacher prep at BYU-Provo.

Where have you taught in your teaching career? I was a substitute for Weber District, I taught at Mount Vernon Academy, and I am currently at Itineris Early College High School.

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? “Fine! You buzzkills! I just wanted to worship our lord and savior Pingu!

* For those of you not familiar with Pingu, it’s a show about a penguin.

What advice would you give to new teachers? Write down the positive! It’s easy to get bogged down in the negative and hard. Be reflective enough to improve, but not so much that you are paralyzed by all the things you need to be better at. Be honest with your students about what you don’t know and your failings. Respect your students like human beings instead of treating them as “kids” and they will respect you back.

What is your favorite teacher resource? Stanford History Education Group

Describe any experience you have had in education policy. Directly after getting my Masters in ESL, I went to an advocacy conference in Washington D.C. and I was terrified. And while I still have a lot to learn, I quickly realized that I really was the expert in the room. After getting over the initial excitement/terror of being in the Senate or House offices, I sat down with staff and gave them information they didn’t have before and was able to give them insight and experience that they weren’t aware of. It was so empowering. It’s hard sometimes to think of myself as a professional, teaching feels like it’s a mix between just being a big student and being a caregiver for students. But when I was in those offices I came to understand that I am a professional with knowledge that these people really needed in order to do their jobs effectively.

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? I want to see more empathy, I want to see students being taught how to talk to people who are different than them and how to understand, resolve, or live with their differences.

Why did you choose to become an educator and why do you choose to stay in the profession? I don’t remember choosing to be an educator, but once I got into the classroom and started to understand my students lives and needs I knew I didn’t want to leave. I stay because of my students. I want them to succeed, I want them to be advocated for, I want them to believe in themselves.


Isn’t she awesome?! Follow her on Twitter @LynetteYorgason Thanks for all you do!


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