MADISON COUNTY, Ala — Mr. James Norman teaches civics and geography at Sparkman Middle School, but he really is more of a mentor to his seventh grade students. He cares for his kids and says it is a beautiful thing to watch them grow, which is why he loves middle school.
"This is way more critical of a time than high school," says Mr. James Norman, the Valley's Top Teacher. "This is where they really start to think about who they are. I mean when I was in middle school this is where I definitely tried to turn into who I am today."
Parents say he always keeps his kids engaged and makes class fun, even when they are virtual. That's really no surprise, since Mr. Norman is truly an entertainer at heart.
"Music is a huge part of my life and I love to dance," smiles Mr. Norman. "I love to sing, rap, whatever it takes to entertain."
His upbeat attitude and care for his kids is just part of what makes him a great teacher. Mr. Norman is passionate about teaching civics, because it runs in his blood.
"I come from a long line of foot soldiers," shares Mr. Norman. "My grandfather was a civil rights legend, my mother was a former judge."
His goal is to teach his students how to be good Americans, who will make the world a better place in a safe, smart, and effective way.
"They need to know the law, they need to know what their rights are, so why not learn it now instead of waiting until it is too late?" says Mr. Norman.
He wants his kids to leave his class with a sense of hope and know that they can do anything they put their minds to.
"They are the future, and that is the main thing when it comes down to it. Just setting up the future," explains Mr. Norman. "I have a son, these kids are going to be future politicians for my children."
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