Logan Elementary School Third-Grade Teacher Kelly Bryant said success may look different for each child, but every child deserves a chance to be their best self.
“Teaching is about providing students with what they need to thrive and learn. It’s about meeting them where they are at that moment in time and showing them they have what it takes to succeed. For me, teaching is a chance to make a difference in the lives of children.”
As the 2021 Logan County Teacher of the Year and as one of the state’s Teacher of the Year finalists, Mrs. Bryant said teaching is more than just a job for her. From the time she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be a teacher.
“School was a safe place for me as a child. I want to provide that same experience for my students. Providing a classroom environment in which my students know they are loved and supported is important to me,” Bryant said. “My favorite aspect of being a teacher is helping my students see how truly special they are. As a third-grade teacher, my students enter my classroom on many different instructional levels. I work hard to provide experiences that build confidence and a sense of pride for every student. Watching my students grow and learn together each year is the best part of being a teacher. When I see their pride and excitement at learning new things, I know I’m in the right place.”
West Virginia schools support the needs of all students and their families, and they do this through customization and collaboration, according to Mrs. Bryant.
“In Logan County, our teachers design rich educational experiences that support academic and social-emotional learning. Our teachers strive to customize learning to the needs of individual students and to provide services that support students and families. These high-quality services support and enable students to achieve success. This is a collaborative effort between schools, families, and the community. By engaging families in the learning process, authentic connections between school, home, and the community are built. Teachers, principals, and support staff are well-educated and prepared to provide quality educational experiences. Most of all, schools in West Virginia are successful because our educators care about students. Local schools are dedicated to serving the children and families of West Virginia.”
An educator for 12 years, Mrs. Bryant said this school year was one of the hardest of her career for many reason, but it was also rewarding beyond belief.
“I got to know the families of my students on a whole new level as we connected through virtual learning. My students overcame hurdle after hurdle as we adapted to hybrid learning when we returned to the classroom. So many exciting new learning experiences were possible for my students,” Bryant said. “One student blossomed this year, and this student entered my classroom as a struggling student who hated school. He had some bad experiences in previous years and believed he would never learn to read. This student is kind, hard-working, and full of energy. The first months of school were spent building him up, making him believe in himself. We worked together to improve word recognition and fluency. He now takes pride in reading the ‘hard words’ and conquering grade-level texts. He now knows he can do anything to which he sets his mind. He brags to anyone who will listen that he loves school. When our Title I teacher meets with him, he tells her all about the book he’s reading and what he’s learning in class. His excitement for learning is palpable. During this difficult year, working with students like this reminds us that teaching is about the students.”
When Mrs. Bryant isn’t busy making a difference in the lives of her students, she is spending time with her husband, Bill, and their two children: Haylie and Tyler. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors and reading.