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This month’s honoree takes her students outside the classroom where she teaches them the most important lesson: how to be a good citizen who gives back to their community.

“I try to give them experience outside the classroom so that they can see what change is needed in the world and they can be part of that change,” says Betsy Crawford, February’s Teacher of the Month.

Crawford is an eighth grade reading teacher at Crete Monee Middle School. Her classroom is bright with character-building reminders scattered about and book case after book case of books for her students to read and discuss.

“My favorite thing about her class, in general, is that we read a wide variety of novels in class,” says eighth grader Chloe Quin.

Quin is the student who submitted Crawford’s name for Teacher of the Month consideration.

“She deserves it because she cares so much for her students,” Quin says. “She teaches us so many life lessons.”

Quin recalls a recent trip to the Ronald McDonald House: “It was an amazing experience. We cooked lunch for the people there. We made tacos and peach cobbler and ice cream. It was really awesome.”

And instructive.

“When you do something for others it does impact you,” says Quin. “It makes you feel good to know that you did something to impact them. You might not think it’s a big thing, but it really is a big thing knowing you did something to help.”

Speaking of a big thing, watching Crawford receive a $1,000 check from Saint Xavier University for a job well done was a big thing for Quin and her classmates. Their teacher, however, says it’s a privilege to teach them.

“This is my life’s calling, and these kids are my heart. I have four kids of my own, but I love these kid like they were my own,” Crawford says.