The students in Ms. Atwood’s room at Hatton High School feel like they are more than just part of a class, they feel like they are part of a family.
“I want them to know that regardless of what is going on in their personal life or at home, whatever they have to go through before they get here, once they are here, they are safe and they are mine,” explains Ms. Charlotte Atwood, the Valley’s Top Teacher. “I treat them just like I treat my own girls.”
“She really is a good teacher,” smiles Emma Sutton, a Seventh Grade Student. “She treats us all like her own kids, and she is just like a mother to all of us.”
“She makes us feel like we are her own kids, like she would treat her own kids,” says Kamdyn Little, a Seventh Grade Student.
Ms. Atwood has been teaching on and off since 1995 when she started in Lawrence County. She took ten years off to raise her daughters and taught in Colbert and Morgan counties. She says being back in Lawrence County this year feels like being home. She’s even getting the chance to teach a second generation of kids in the area.
“As a matter of fact, I taught both of their mothers in the seventh grade and now I have both of their daughters in the seventh grade,” says Ms. Atwood of two of her students this year.
Although she is teaching seventh and eighth graders science in the classroom, she even encourages them outside of class. Ms. Atwood does this because she was raised by a single mom and knows sometimes kids need some extra support.
“I am here with these kids eight hours a day. I go to their ball games, I try to attend their honors when they get inducted into like Beta club or if they’re playing volleyball, so they’re mine,” shares Ms. Atwood.
Ms. Atwood started teaching full time again after her husband passed away four years ago. She says as a widow, she knows how important is to have someone there rooting for you.
“Some days if I can just show up and make a difference and they see that person in the stands or they see that person at their event, they are like ‘hey, I am not here by myself, I do have somebody.'”
“She always makes me feel peaceful, I guess, because you know it’s a safe classroom,” says Emma Sutton. “You can tell her anything you need to.”
“You can talk to her about stuff, she is a nice person and I like her a lot,” shares Kamdyn Little.
Ms. Atwood loves to teach seventh and eighth graders because it such a time of growth, but she wants her kids to know she will continue to cheer them on even after they leave her class.
“What I want them to know above all else is that they have somebody here who cares about them, and that will always care about them, and that is here no matter what,” says Ms. Atwood.
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