GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — When you watch Mrs. Morgan O'Dell teach her kindergartners, it comes as no surprise that she actually started here at Guntersville Elementary as a music teacher and her father is a music minister.
"We sing a lot in my room. We sing our ABC's, our 123's, and we do a little rap too," smiles Mrs. Morgan O'Dell, the Valley's Top Teacher. "We have a lot of fun."
For Mrs. O'Dell, teaching in Guntersville just comes natural. Many of the kindergarten teachers she works with now are actually the teachers she shadowed when she was in high school, and she says she still learns from them today.
"Actually, my Principal was one of my teachers in High School, so this is home to me. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," explains Mrs. O'Dell.
When you watch Mrs. O'Dell teach, there is no question that her kids are a huge part of her heart and soul. She says she cares so much for them because others cared for her.
"I had a lot of people in my life that poured into me, and I just know how much I grew from them, former teachers, education staff," shares Mrs. O'Dell. "So I want to do that for other people, and little children, as well."
Mrs. O'Dell encourages her students every step of the way, especially in tough times, like during the pandemic.
"I always just say, it is hard because it's worth. Because life, especially right now, is just so hard," explains Mrs. O'Dell. "So if that is the other thing I can tell them, things are hard, they are hard, but you press on and learn resilience because it is worth it. The things in life that are hard, they are hard, because they are worth it."
At the end of the school year she hopes her kids leave Kindergarten with a true love for learning, but there is one other thing that is even more important that she wants them to remember for years to come.
"That I love them. No matter where they are. If they are at Walmart, a football game, wherever, they can come and know that I do love them and that somebody cares," says Mrs. O'Dell. "Because you know, a lot of kids, one day they will grow up and they might not think that anybody cares, but I want them to know that I love them and I care."
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