MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Macon is once again the focus of the Georgia Teacher of the Year award. The honor is now down to 10 finalists from across the state, one of whom teaches at the Georgia Academy for the Blind.
Lauren Eckman always wanted to be a teacher. She spent her days as a little girl, practicing her trade in front of her stuffed animals and her grandmother.
"She was very influential," Eckman says of her late grandmother. "She was the only human student in my stuffed animal classroom!"
Today, Ms. Eckman teaches English at the Georgia Academy for the Blind. She says she is honored and shocked that she was chosen.
"I've always been a 'do my job, do the best that I can and try to help the children.' It's not about me, it's about them. So I never even thought of any sorts of awards or accolades."
The staff at the Academy, say Eckman definitely deserves this award.
"It was a surprise to us," Tyrene Neil says. Neil is the Student Services Coordinator. "It wasn't actually a surprise that she was that fantastic, but the announcement was terrific! She's a favorite among the students...the best thing about Lauren, is she's not just worried about their education today. She's worried about their life tomorrow."
Eckman has spent all of her eight year career teaching at the Academy for the Blind. She fell in love with the place the moment she walked in the door.
"I fell in love with the kids...They teach me more than I'm ever going to teach them."
Ms. Eckman and nine other finalists still need to go through another round of interviews and classroom evaluation. The winner will be chosen June 1st.