ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools announced the finalists for teacher of the year, and among them is a registered nurse who said she’s proud to represent the field of nursing, career education and technical education.
Nancy Welch teaches Practical Nursing at Orlando Technical College’s Orlando campus. OTC offers certifications, licensures, and apprenticeships in careers ranging from agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, business, information technology, transportation, and health sciences.
“I’m a nurse first and a teacher second and I just happen to have this wonderful privilege of imparting the knowledge and experiences I’m really passionate about and I really enjoy getting to know the students,” said Welch. “For instance the other day the students were covering content in the classroom, took the group of students to clinical the next day, and one of the students had three patients who had very similar disease processes to what she had just covered in class, and the lights all just started going off and she’s starting to make these connections and she’s so happy to connect her didactic knowledge with her practical knowledge and provide her patients excellent care that day.”
Welch has taught at OTC for 10 years.
“Some students find that college is just not a good fit for them,” Welch said. “We can get you working in a year. It’s a career in a year. It’s a career in which you will always have a job if you want one.”
Welch said at the beginning of the pandemic, she began corporating COVID-19 into her lesson plans.
“I have a particular interest in infection and infectious diseases and infection control, and of course that is a huge component of what I teach and what we teach at Orange Technical College with our nursing students and our CNA students. So I had my students begin doing some of the research early on. January and February of 2020 I wrote assignments for my students to go to the CDC webpage and look up some of this information, look up how contagious this virus was, look up how many people in China had contracted this virus,” she said.
Teacher of the Year will be announced in February at the OCPS Stellar Awards Ceremony. The other finalists are Maribel Lopez from Timber Springs Middle School, Corin Metz from Thornebrooke Elementary School, Alexandra Pittman from Innovation Middle School, and Jessica Roberts from Corner Lake Middle School.