Emily Mars is a 4th grade teacher at Gardendale Elementary School and was recently voted the 2022-2023 GES Teacher of the Year. She joins our Teacher Spotlight Series.
Tell us a little about you and how you decided to become a teacher?
I teach 4th grade at Gardendale Elementary. I live in Gardendale with my husband, Jared, and our two sons, Henry and Carson. Being able to teach in the community where I live and raise my own children is so special to me. I graduated from Gardendale High School and then went to the University of North Alabama. There was no question when I graduated high school and started college what my major would be. I have known for my entire life that I wanted to be a teacher. From a very young age I was playing school with stuffed animals and trying to get anyone and everyone to play along with me. I had some really great teachers growing up that reaffirmed I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
My favorite part of being a teacher is getting to be with my students on a daily basis and build relationships. I love seeing them learn and grow throughout the short time we are together. There is never a dull moment or predictable day. I love that.
Are there special moments where you say to yourself “this is why I teach?”
Absolutely! I can think of several, but my very favorite moments are when students are truly enjoying and invested in learning. I love seeing them have those moments where they finally “get it” and feel confident in themselves. Another “this is why I teach” moment is when I see the students build positive relationships with each other. Hearing them build each other up makes my heart swell every time.
What’s the one thing you would like people to know about teachers?
One thing people should know about teachers is that we genuinely love your kids. We try every day to do what is best for our students and want the best for them. We’re on your team.
If you had one wish for something special for your classroom, what would it be?
This is a tough one! Something my students always appreciate is somewhere to sit besides a desk. We have a few options in the classroom already but I know they would love more bean bags, standing desks, etc.