As teacher appreciation week winds down, CLUTCH wanted to take a moment to shout out a teacher making a difference not only in her community, but also throughout the world. 

Matinga Ragatz is a force to be reckoned with. The Michigan teacher has been hailed as the 2011 Teacher of the Year by her state and as an “Innovative Teacher” by tech giant Microsoft for her unconventional instruction style and ability to bring the world into her classroom.  But what’s so amazing about Ms. Ragatz is her knack for engaging her students and inspiring them to think outside of what is familiar.

Currently on year-long sabbatical, Ms. Ragatz teaches social studies and global languages at Grand Ledge High School and thinks traveling is an essential part of teaching her students to think globally.

“In order to add a more globalization to the classroom, I’ve taken the students abroad. Part of a twenty-first century skill set is for students to be taught globalization and for me, it’s a paradox not to include travel in their education,” she told me last summer.

Ms. Ragatz’ commitment isn’t just to her students in Michigan, she’s also working to develop education-based projects in West Africa and is opening an innovative farm school in Arusha, Tanzania.

Despite all of the criticisms teachers face, Ms. Ragatz is a shining example of what’s right in our schools. Her dedication to her students and her willingness to incorporate new technology, a rigorous student-centered curriculum, and her passion for showing her students the world is much larger than their neighborhoods makes Ms. Ragatz a woman worthy of our praise.

Did a teacher inspire you? How did they change your life and/or perspective? 

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  • LemonnLime

    Yes! Internationalization of curriculum should be a priority for all schools hoping to create well rounded global citizens. I appulde her and her work!

  • Whatever

    Nice, I wish most schools had the opportunity to take the students (well behaved ones) abroad.

  • H

    It’s nice to hear about teachers like this. They should be well paid. I feel if teachers were paid like doctors or engineers, we could attract the brightest and most passionate to the field.

    • Tami

      It’s wonderful hearing about teachers like this…I feel teachers should get paid much more than they do…I hope my 6 yr old grand-daughter gets a chance to have a teacher as passionate as Ms. Ragatz.

  • My kindergarten teacher is and still remains an inspiration, because she never gave up on my kray azz, climbing out of windows and going outside in the middle of a lesson to cry because I hated school so much. She lovely guided me back to class, EVERY single day for a whole year! This woman ROCKS!!!!!

  • This school is in my area, it’s nice to see our schools being recognized.