Our Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Kelly Davis of J. Glenn Edwards Elementary School. Ms. Davis is a first-grade teacher and has been a part of the JGE family for the entirety of her five-year teaching career. She was recently recognized as the J. Glenn Edwards 2018-19 Teacher of the Year. Ms. Davis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
As a teacher, Ms. Davis’ goal is to develop students who are eager to learn and explore, while also believing in themselves and their potential. “I place importance on the creation of a classroom where strong relationships are built, and my students never question how much I care about them.”
Taking on the role of assistant coach for a middle school softball team was one of the reasons Ms. Davis decided to go into teaching. “Coaching was amazing, but the best part was being able to teach girls who knew very little about the sport how to play. I would spend hours working with girls who didn’t even know the basics of throwing a ball. It took a lot of time and effort on both ends, but finally the girls would start picking up on the skills. The most rewarding moments would come during games, when someone who had struggled in the beginning would make a play and all you could see was a huge beaming smile. As a coach, being able to say ‘YES! You did it!’ and that feeling of knowing that you helped in that process is what led me to become a teacher.”
Ms. Davis’ best teaching experience is something that may seem small and insignificant to most, but it reminds her of how powerful teaching can be. “I saw one of my previous students in the hallway and knew he was having a particularly hard year both academically and behaviorally, so I always made sure to greet him with the biggest smile and hug. That day his face didn’t light up like usual, so I asked him what was going on. We had a conversation about what had happened that week, and I gave him some advice. He told me that he and his teacher didn’t really get along, and he felt like I was the only person he could talk to. I told him from that day on that he could come by my room any morning before school to talk to me, because I would always be there for him. Since that day that student has been by my classroom every morning just to check in. Sometimes we have conversations, and sometimes it’s just a quick hug and ‘I hope you have a great day’. That moment has made me forever grateful to be a teacher, because it reminds me on a daily basis of why I teach and just how truly influential teachers are.”
Ms. Davis’ guidance for new and aspiring teachers is that while the profession can be tough, it is well worth the effort. “Teaching is hard, and there will be tears shed, days that seem to never end, more paperwork than imaginable and students who always seem to get the best of you. The thing is, however, that teaching is probably one of the most rewarding jobs that I know of. If your heart is truly set on teaching, you will find it within yourself to face those challenges because the outcome is totally worth it. That moment when you have been teaching about a topic for months, and you have tried every technique possible and you just want to give up, but you keep pushing through it and finally they get it. Or after a child who seems as though they could not care less about you, finally comes up and tells you that they love having you as a teacher. Yeah, those feelings are feelings that cannot be compared to many. Victory, excitement, joy, LOVE! That’s why teaching is worth it! Truly when a student joins your classroom they become a part of your life forever,. You will always remember them and the fact that you played a part in their life.”