What’s Right With Our Schools: Houston County Teacher of the Year

HOUSTON COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A teacher at Shirley Hills Elementary is taking the spotlight for helping kindergartners grow academically and personally.

“My students come in and I encourage them to read and write and home,” says kindergarten teacher Ashley Watkins.

The encouragement the four and five year olds receive from their teacher, helps them stay focused on learning and builds their character.

“There’s so much more than just teaching the standards, you know I’m trying to teach them how to get along with one another and just how to be a good citizen and what that means and what it should looks like,” she adds.

Her drive and love for these children hasn’t gone unnoticed. She has demonstrated her performance inside of the classroom and has been named teacher of the year; and to top that, she’s given kindergartners an opportunity to publish their own book.

‘Barky the mouse’ was published last year. It was inspired by one of her former students who says his idea of creating the character, Barky, started as a mistake.

First grader Carson Stanley says, “First, I made a five and I messed up and I turned it into Barky and I named it because in Kindergarten I was like this. This part, when you make a five right here it has to touch that part, then you make arms and a tail and feet.”

A group of 18 students helped create the story. ‘Barky the Mouse’ is about a monster who comes to steal cheese from a mouse. It turns out to be a misunderstanding because the monster didn’t know how to ask politely for the cheese and in the end they become best friends.

The book, like Mrs. Watkins, teaches students a valuable lesson.

Mrs.Watkins has been teaching for 11 years and looks forward to helping students continue to publish more books.

Categories: Houston County, Local News, Special Report, What’s Right With Our Schools

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