GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Mrs. Erica Kelley at Cherokee Elementary School has been teaching for fifteen years, and fourteen of those years have been in this same classroom. But when the pandemic hit, Mrs. Kelley adapted and stepped up to the plate to help her fourth graders.
"My partner teacher and I decided to take on the virtual students," shares Mrs. Erica Kelley, the Valley's Top Teacher. "We did not really decide that too far ahead of time, it was kind of last minute, because we had such high numbers."
Mrs. Kelley says God has called her to this career and it is her purpose.
This year she is making sure to love on her students from a distance and is always encouraging them.
"Just knowing that I love them and that no matter what happens, we are going to be okay and we will get through this," explains Mrs. Kelley.
Mrs. Kelley makes sure her kids know it is okay to make mistakes and that practice makes perfect. She is there to help them every step of the way.
"I use my own experiences a lot too," shares Mrs. Kelley. "So just kind of relating to them on their level too."
Mrs. Kelley says her class is like a big family. She is extremely thankful for all of her students' parents. She says they have been an amazing support system this year.
"Sometimes teachers don't always feel super encouraged in different places, and just having those words of encouragement have just literally gotten us through some of these hard times when you just didn't know what the next day might hold," shares Mrs. Kelley.
Her number one priority is making sure her kids feel loved and that they feel empowered to reach their goals after they leave her class.
"Just knowing that whatever comes their way, that they can take it one small chunk at a time and they will get through it," says Mrs. Kelley.
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