Can you imagine deciding to become a teacher and when your first opportunity arrives everything about the profession is turned upside down?

Even the most seasoned teachers were not completely sure all the new methods would work. Nobody was certain that it wouldn't be a complete mess.

It's in times of adversity that the best and most dedicated rise right to the top. Teachers all over the Rockford area did more than just 'show up', they found any way they could to connect with their students and help them succeed.

Today, we're honoring a first-year teacher who came into the profession at a very difficult time and showed that she was "born to teach."

Congratulations to Jessica Slattery from Maple Elementary School in Loves Park, Illinois

97ZOK's New Teacher of the Week

Jessica was nominated for this honor by one of her peers, Lorri Clevenger. Lorri writes,

Pandemic Gave New Illinois Teacher Chance to Prove She Was Born to Teach
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"Ms. Slattery is a first year teacher in a difficult time and yet her passion and heart shone through to all, students and staff alike. Jessica's positivity and smile light up every room she enters. As her teaching partner, I have been blessed by her willingness to jump right in from the very start of the year. From painting her room, to supporting my classroom when I was out with COVID, to seeking the very best for "her kids" she is giving it her all and setting a high bar. She has helped her students show top growth in Reading in our district elementary schools. In a time when many are walking away, thank you Jessica for staying the course. Blessed to have you. You were born to teach!"

Pandemic Gave New Illinois Teacher Chance to Prove She Was Born to Teach
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As 97ZOK's Teacher Of The Week, Jessica Slattery was surprised with a beautiful floral arrangement from Broadway Florist and a delicious cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Pandemic Gave New Illinois Teacher Chance to Prove She Was Born to Teach
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Pandemic Gave New Illinois Teacher Chance to Prove She Was Born to Teach
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20 Fascinating, Unknown Facts About the State of Illinois

Tiny Illinois Town is in Guinness Book of World Records 12 Times

One very small Illinois town has built themselves into a giant across the globe and I'll bet you didn't even know. Neither did I. A whole lotta wow going on.