2016-2017 Teacher of the Year Nominee: Miss Armig of St. Gregory Hovsepian School!

by Jessica on May 13, 2017

Shahe Mankerian nominated Miss Armig of St. Gregory Hovsepian School

The gods of education have a wicked sense of humor; they purposefully bestow upon every individual only one great teacher. Ask anyone, “Who’s your favorite teacher?” and the answer always comes in haste, always a single name, always with an honorary prefix Mr., Mrs., Miss, always accompanied with a wistful smile. One of my favorite teachers was/is Miss Armig. She teaches History at Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena. However, I would be doing a disservice to Miss Armig if I simply label her as the History teacher. She is a motivator, a lifelong learner, a rebel, and a friend.

I met Miss Armig when she was still a miss and a Matossian. I interviewed her nine years ago in my new office with a new position. I needed a middle school History teacher, and she walked in with that eager uncertainty. A novice myself, I mistakenly judged a complex book by the cover. Armig resembled a preadolescent student as she sat at one of the sagging, maroon armchairs. I flipped the pages of her curriculum vitae, thinking, she’s demure, diminutive, and definitely inexperienced, yet she demanded my attention with the steadfast capability of the tyro giants of this profession.

From the start, Miss Armig took pride in being an alumnus of Hovsepian School, the very PreK-8 school I was taking the helm of as the Principal. After graduating Hovsepian, Miss Armig had cruised her way through Pasadena High School, and then four years at California State University, Northridge, attaining a M.A. in History with high honors. It didn’t take long for the interview to evolve into a charming conversation about Alice in Wonderland (her favorite book), The Little Prince (my favorite book), The Beatles (our favorite band), the Woman’s Suffrage, the Beat Poets, and finally the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Needless to say, I hired Miss Armig. It didn’t take long for her to gain the respect of her students and parents. She was loved. Her classes shifted paradigm for all teachers in our school. In order to have engaging classes, teachers visited Miss Armig’s classroom to get ideas. She became the queen of differentiated instruction and cherished students with special needs. She became the queen of learning. History, for example, was taught with music, preferably jazz. Black and white movies became a norm. In order to expand her pedagogical repertoire, Armig embraced additional classes like English, Film and Art.

What else did Armig do? She redefined the Student Council into a project-based leadership team. They advocated community service and raised money for the Children’s Hospital, spearheaded toy drives for the local police and fire departments, and organized annual dance-a-thons to aid the children of Armenian and warring Syria. She singlehandedly reestablished the school’s dilapidated library. Along the way, she married our awesome math teacher, Baron Zare, and she became a Mrs. I believe Mrs. Arming, like all great teachers, channels abundant love for learning, children, and change. That’s why nominating Mrs. Armig became an homage to all great teachers.