“When I stop learning, I shall stop living.” – Camille Quaite
Camille Quaite, a teacher at Bellaire High School and Test Masters employee since 1996, was recently recognized by Humanities Texas, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, for excellence in teaching. Ms. Quaite, who was one of only thirteen other recipients, was meritoriously given the prestigious Humanities Texas Teacher of the Year Award.
Quaite, who is known for her bold commitment to the humanities in the classroom, expects her students to dedicate themselves to learning as she has dedicated herself to teaching- Quaite says, “Ophelia, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, describes what she believes is now lost in Hamlet’s supposed insanity: “the courtier’s soldier’s scholar’s eye, tongue, sword / Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state, / The glass of fashion and the mold of form, / Th’ observed of all observers.” These phrases describe what I desire for my students. As global citizens, they must know more than just the characters in the most popular books; they will be the mirrors for future students and scholars; thus they must be well-rounded. Education needs to include all facets of learning from the factual to the creative, artistic elements, and to the historical influences. A focus on humanities—art, music, history, philosophy, and literature—has always guided my approach in my classes.”
Another criterion for this award includes active involvement in the community. Outside of her work with Test Masters, Ms. Quaite leads the Bellaire High School Academic Decathlon team and is an area expert in all things grammar. (I am happy to admit than any unusually complex or particularly dubious grammar questions that I or other staff members encounter are regularly passed along to Camille for a clear explanation)
As an elite-level educator, we naturally turned to Ms. Quaite for any advice she may have for students preparing for a career in education. As she has lived a life of the mind, so too does she urge others to do the same; “For those who may wish to become our educators, take more than the basic requirements in the university. Look for opportunities to find creative and artistic outlets; become involved in community activities and fairs. Experience cultures that may be unusual for your heritage. Expand your outlook on life. In that way, life is more enjoyable; you will additionally find excitement in the classroom when you can go outside the text and relate the information to other venues.”
Ms. Quaite represents the very best any educator could strive to be. She engages her students in meaningful and creative ways, and her legacy can be clearly seen in the bright young minds she has worked so hard to shape. One former student had this to say: “She was by far the best English teacher I had at Bellaire, and given the quality of Bellaire’s teachers, that really is saying something.” Whether she’s teaching children how to sing the Prologue of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the tune of Yankee Doodle or explaining the ins and outs of nominative absolutes, Ms. Quaite is making the world a more literate place, one student at a time.
You can learn more about Ms. Quaite’s achievement and Texas Humanities here.