Braxton Citizens' News, Sports

Allie Suesli, BCHS World History teacher, named Braxton County Teacher of the Year

Anyone who talks to Allie Suesli about teaching will immediately see her love for her job. Suesli, who has been teaching for seven years, all at Braxton County High School, likes the subject she teaches and enjoys interacting with students.

Asked what she likes best about teaching, she wasted no time responding. “I like interacting with students. Most people experience something every day. The 100-plus different personalities of my students make my days fun and exciting.”

Looking at another facet of her experiences with students, Suesli explained that, in the seven years she has been teaching, “I see a big change in the students. Kids are changing in the ways they learn, for example. They’re still adjusting from [being out of the classroom during] Covid.”

Changes in the students actually influence some of what Suesli teaches. She explained. “A lot of what I’ve taught has not always been subject content but often I’ve been teaching more social skills than ever before,” She said.  Saying that “soft skills” is often used to describe what she is talking about, she added that she likes the word “ability” to apply here. Continuing, she mentioned that she sees students being unable to look directly at those with whom they’re interacting and that eye contact is often difficult for them. Seeing a need, this teacher takes time to address it.

To a question about “the biggest problem she faces as a teacher,” Suesli responded by discussing people’s attitudes about teachers. “Probably the biggest problem that I see is that people think they understand what we teachers experience. They don’t. To them, it’s okay that we have eight million things to do every day. Even though they went to school, they just don’t realize what is on a teacher’s plate. They don’t see the number of different tasks teachers must complete.”

Out of all the social studies classes, World History is Suesli’s favorite class to teach. She explained that she tried American History for one school term but returned to World History. Her success in the classroom can be illustrated in part by the results of her Advanced Placement World History students’ results on the national World History AP test last school term. It is important to know that a majority of her students in that class are freshmen. Her AP students’ results were above both the state and national level. In addition, more than half of the class—of freshmen, qualified for college credit by scoring a three or above on the test with five being the top possible score.

Suesli came into teaching after trying journalism as a career. After receiving a degree in journalism from West Virginia University and a year or so working in her chosen field, she decided to move to education. “Teaching was always something I considered,” she noted, “so when I decided to change my career, it seemed a good choice.”  She found a program through which she could qualify as a teacher, and she’s been hard at work, and enjoying it, for seven years.

Suesli, her husband Josh, and their two-year-old daughter Quinlan live in the Flatwoods area.