Featured Teacher:
Amber Denbo

March 30th, 2019


Amber Denbo

Each month we share the stories of dynamic educators who are using MasteryConnect in innovative ways to help students be their best! Follow along with our Featured Teacher series and get to know other teachers in the MC community.

Meet Amber Denbo, she’s been teaching second grade for 15 years and has experience as a teacher and an instructional coach! She currently teaches at Oswego Community Unit in Illinois and has taught almost all elementary school subjects. She originally planned on being a biologist, but fell in love with teaching after volunteering to teach field trip groups at a local nature center. Keep reading to find out what her most memorable moment in the classroom is.


What subjects have you taught?
All subjects-I’m an elementary school teacher!

What grades have you taught?
1st Grade as a teacher, Grades K-5 Math as an instructional coach

What is your favorite activity outside of the classroom?

How do you avoid burnout?
Spending a lot of time with my family

What keeps you excited about teaching?
Connecting with students and having a positive impact on their daily lives.

Why did you start teaching?
I originally planned to be a biologist because I thought teaching would be too hard of a job. While I was in college as a biology major, I volunteered to teach field trip groups at a local nature center. I fell in love with teaching and eventually got my degree in biology and environmental education. However, I found that as an environmental educator, I didn’t get to know kids or connect with them long term, so I decided to go back to school to become a classroom teacher.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Talk less. Smile more.

If you could choose a “walk-on song” to be played every morning, what would it be?
Whatever it Takes by Imagine Dragons

What is your favorite book on education?
Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler

What advice would you give a first-year teacher?
Build strong relationships with your students. The rest of it will fall into place.

If you weren’t a teacher, what kind of career would you have?
Something else working with kids—potentially a child advocate for foster kids or something along those lines.

What has been the most memorable moment in your teaching career so far?
I was sitting around a table with a small group of kids for reading and the first grades were being extra silly that day. I asked them to turn off their silly switches. One of the most serious kids in my class reaches up and pretends to shut a switch on and off and in a no nonsense manner says, ‘Sorry Mrs. Denbo my switch is broken.’ It is the first and only time that I laughed so hard I cried with my student.

What is your favorite quote?
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” by Henry Ford

Tell us one of your goals for this year.
As a math instructional coach, I am working on getting as many teachers as possible (K-5) to implement number sense routines in their classroom.

What is your favorite MC Feature?
The ease of using the app and teacher reports

What is one thing you want students to take away when they leave your classroom at the end of the year?
I work with hundreds of students and their teachers each year and the one thing I hope they all get from working with me is to always keep trying new things and don’t be afraid to mess things up! That’s how we learn and grow!

What is your dream vacation?
Anywhere my family is- I’m a homebody and don’t really love to travel, but taking trips with my family is always fun no matter where we go!

Anything else you want to add about yourself?
My proudest MasteryConnect moment has been accepting the ‘Appiest District’ award at MasteryCon in 2016 on behalf of my school district.

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