Athens Elementary School’s Michelle Martin said being a teacher is one of her callings in life.
“I wanted to become a teacher to make a difference in children’s lives. My grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse for many years. Right before I graduated, she told me that my students may not always remember what I taught them, but they will always remember how I treated them. I believe you must ‘capture kids’ hearts before you can capture their minds.’ I feel challenging my students enhances their self-esteem and confidence. I want them to leave my class feeling loved and cared for, but I also want them to realize learning can be fun and interesting.”
Currently a fourth and fifth-grade split-classroom teacher, Mrs. Martin said she wants to help set children up for success early in their education, so they can realize their potential.
“I was once told that if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life. I cannot agree more! I love teaching, and I love going to work! I enjoy being challenged every day and constantly learning new ideas. I love the fact that no two days are ever alike, but what I love the most are the kids! They are spontaneous, eager, fun, mischievous, sincere, and some are even impulsive. They constantly keep me on my toes, and every year is different. The lessons they teach me about life are beyond priceless! They make me a better person just by being around them.”
Mrs. Martin said she although the last year has been a learning curve for all involved, she’s very pleased with the direction the state has moved with technology and professional development.
“The additional support has provided us with the skills needed to teach in a pandemic. This will allow us to continue incorporating more technology into our classrooms in the future,” Mrs. Martin said. “Based on my experience, I feel the teachers, staff, and principals in our West Virginia schools are what makes the education system successful! In addition, supportive parents and community play a vital role in our students’ education. Collaboratively, they are the glue that holds schools together. Their commitment, countless hours of work, and dedication to our students is beyond measure.”
As an educator for 17 years, Mrs. Martin said she’s had many experiences that have positively shaped her career. However, the most significant impact in her life was having an incredible mentor teacher take her under her wing when she was a beginning teacher.
“I was fortunate enough to team-teach with a teacher who had more than 30 years of experience. She loved her job, and it was contagious! The energy and dedication radiated from her every day. She taught me how to balance structure and classroom management while being fun and promote a love for learning for the students. I still implement strategies and techniques I learned from her. When I have student teachers and observers in my classroom I always try to model and demonstrate the positivity she bestowed to me. My only hope is that I can continue to be the same type of mentor she was to me for future West Virginia teachers.”
When Mrs. Martin isn’t busy in the classroom, she’s spending time with her husband and rambunctious six-year-old twins, Emma and Eli. Her favorite hobbies include traveling, reading, gardening with her dad, and going to Mountaineer games.