Meet Teresa Carter 2017-18 Davie County Schools Teacher of the Year
DavieLiFE had the chance to spend some time with this year’s Davie County Schools Teacher of the Year, Teresa Carter. Teresa and her husband, Terry, have been married for 24 years. They have two sons, Caleb, 22 and Ben, 17. Caleb is a senior at the University of Northern Alabama and Ben is a senior at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC.
We had a blast with this great family and hope you’ll enjoy reading a bit more about them.
Tell us a little about yourself where you grew up, went to school, your family, etc.
I grew up in a small, rural farming community in Surry County called Mountain Park. I went to a small K-8 school that was very much like Cooleemee. I moved to Davie County 26 years ago when I met my wonderful husband and married him. My husband, Terry, works for the Davie County Sheriff’s Office. My husband has always been my biggest advocate. His constant encouragement reminds me every day why I do what I do: teach! We were blessed with two sons that are the joys of my life. Caleb and Ben attended Cooleemee. Caleb will be graduating from college during the summer of 2018 with a BA in Political Science and History from the University of Northern Alabama. Ben will complete his senior year at the NC School of Science and Mathematics in Durham. I am very proud of my family and how they have embraced their education and strive every day to make their communities a better place to live and learn.
How many years have you been teaching?
I started working as a teaching assistant in reading in 2005 at WRD. I also went back to college at Salem College the same year. I spent the next two years working on my degree and performing my duties as a TA at WRD, a wife and mother of two. I spent the fall of 2007 completing my student teaching at Cooleemee in kindergarten with Marianne Stein. I returned to William R. Davie Elementary in January of 2008 as a reading teacher temporarily and finally in the fall of 2008, I became a second grade teacher at Cooleemee.
What are your thoughts on being named TOY for Davie County Schools?
I am so humbled to be named Davie County Teacher of the Year. There are many teachers throughout our county doing amazing things for students and I am honored to represent them. I credit many of my successes to my mentors for encouraging me when the days felt long and difficult. I remember the many congratulations that I got after I was chosen as Cooleemee TOY and then as Davie County TOY. In our county, I am reminded every day that I am surrounded by greatness. Some of the greatest educators I have known have been my colleagues and friends throughout my years in Davie County Schools. I am only as good as the teachers and leaders that surround me. I am blessed to teach in a county where I have been encouraged to dream big and teach with my heart.
When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher?
I think my decision to be a teacher dates back to my third grade year. I had the most wonderful teacher, Miss Fairy Wall. She inspired our class to dream big and love learning. She was a fair and honest educator that led by example. I remember learning to embrace our differences and unite us as a class, all the while making us feel celebrated for our own uniqueness. I can remember summers where I read wonderful books that Miss Wall recommended. I was truly not a typical child. Even though I loved summer break, I was always excited to go back to school in the fall and sad on the last day of the year. I did not finish my degree until I was an adult mother of two. I ended up spending 20 years in retail sales before my husband and I decided that it was time for me to follow my dream and finish school to become a teacher.
What do you consider to be the most gratifying thing about teaching elementary school?
Teaching is the best job in the world! It is however, much more than just a job, it is a calling. Yes, there are days that
are more challenging but the rewards far exceed those challenges. Teaching is a rare profession that allows us to wear many hats. Each day I become an actor, a nurse, a surrogate parent, and a counselor. There are days that I am called mom, aunt, and grandma. Knowing that these precious little ones rely on me to give them guidance and love as they build confidence and self-assurance in their abilities as life-long learners is one of the most gratifying things about teaching. The point where the struggle turns into the knowledge of a clear idea is one of the greatest moments in a teacher’s life. Knowing that all of the planning, discussing, modeling and even some tears, has been rewarded with the student breaking through the wall of difficulty: watching that small smile creep onto a student’s face. There is nothing quite like that feeling. Students rely on teachers to fulfill roles during their day that help them make sense of their world.
As a teacher, I strive to inspire students to build confidence, self-efficacy and resilience, as these are aspects I have found detrimental to my own success thus far. It is not only these qualities I strive to develop in my students, but a love of lifelong learning, that will enable them to have a better long term outcome to life, through effective and engaging teaching and learning. Teaching is more than just a job, being a teacher is being the change you want to see in the world.