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Teaching is Full of Priceless Moments for Michelle Waldrop

Teachers often point to those “a-ha” moments when talking about those times when their students figure out something in class. Michelle Waldrop thinks those moments are “priceless.”

Thank you for teaching, Michelle. Thank you for how much your care about your students!

Treye Hanner: Tell us a little about you and how you decided to become a teacher?

Michelle Waldrop: I have been married to my husband, Brent, for 25 years.  We have 2 children, Justin and Kristen, who are students at Wallace State Community College.

I am currently in my 22nd year of teaching, 17 of those years in 2nd grade.  I absolutely love teaching 2nd grade!  I originally was a Business/Accounting Major.  One day a dear friend suggested that I go into Education.  She saw how I was with her girls and stated that I would make a good teacher.  She arranged for me to go read to her daughter’s Kindergarten class to see if it was something that I would want to do.  I went, fell in love, and as they say, “The rest is history!”

Treye Hanner: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?

Michelle Waldrop: There are many things that I love about being a teacher.  I love building relationships with my students, parents, and colleagues.  We could not do this job without supporting each other and being there for one another.  My most favorite part though is when I look at my students at the end of the year and see how much they have grown academically, socially, and personally from August to May.

Treye Hanner: Are there special moments where you say to yourself “this is why I teach?”

Michelle Waldrop: Many say that it is the “aha” moments and it is true.  There are no words to describe that moment when a student who has struggled or had trouble understanding a concept and they finally get it.  The smile on their face or the way their face lights up is priceless!  I love seeing former students and witnessing their accomplishments in and out of the classroom.  You hope that somehow you made a difference.

Treye Hanner: What challenges have you experienced while having to teach through the pandemic?

Michelle Waldrop: There have been many challenges teaching through the pandemic.  In March 2020 we went home for Spring Break and did not return to school for the rest of the school year.  We had to learn how to teach through a computer.  Many students did not have internet service or computers.

We began the next school year remotely, so forming those relationships was hard at first.  We know that many of our students are behind. We are working hard to try to get them to where they need to be and fill in those gaps that have occurred over the last two years.

Treye Hanner: What’s the one thing you would like people to know about teachers?

Michelle Waldrop: We care. We love our students.  We want what is best for our students.  We want to be there to celebrate their accomplishments and we will be there when they need encouragement or to lift them up when they need it.  Teaching is hard.  It is not easy.  Especially today.  But I think if you ask most of us, we would tell you that we could not imagine doing anything else.  It is truly a calling.  I am blessed to be a teacher and thankful for the friendships and relationships that I have made over the years.