Flanked by District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren, left, and Orrington School principal Renaud Beaudoin, Orrington second grade teacher James Schamber celebrates his Golden Apple award.                                                                 RoundTable photo

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James Schamber’s second-grade classroom at Orrington School was filled with laughter and cries of excitement when he was presented with a Golden Apple award for excellence in teaching.

Golden Apple Foundation representatives, Mr. Schamber’s family, Orrington School principal Renaud Beaudoin, District Superintendent Paul Goren, teachers and parents surprised Mr. Schamber in his classroom on the morning of May 13.

After gathering in the library, the entourage headed down the hall toward Mr. Schamber’s classroom, television media heading the group. 

When the door opened, the students knew what was happening. These second-graders were ecstatic, unable to  contain their enthusiasm as they yelled in unison, “We won!”  He was totally surprised by this prestigious honor. There were many hugs and very excited children who were so very proud of their teacher.

Dr. Goren said, “The look on James’ face was priceless. I am thrilled that I was able to be a part of this special day.

“Mr. Schamber embodies what it means to be a great educator. His ability to truly engage his students each day is helping to instill in them a life-long love for learning. We are fortunate to have Mr. Schamber as one of the many talented educators in District 65.”

 The Golden Apple Foundation said of Mr. Schamber: “Humor plays a big role in James Schamber’s classroom, as it bridges the gap between between instructional goals and learning outcomes.

“He says that learners feel comfortable expressing themselves because in his classroom he understands that mistakes must be made in order to reach differentiated learning goals. He leverages technology, dancing and singing to create a fun, comfortable and engaging classroom environment. Mr. Schamber believes humor is a motivational tool and helps the nature of expectations within academic periods. He says that learning does not stop at the end of the day, and is often found tutoring his students, mentoring students from a previous year, is watching a student’s performance from the audience. He says most importantly, he looks for a student’s potential rather than focusing on perceived challenges.”

The 2015 recipients were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations, and represent pre-K through third-grade teachers throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.