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Valley's Top Teacher: Mrs. Ursula Caston, West Decatur Elementary School

Mrs. Ursula Caston teaches kindergarten as West Decatur Elementary School.

DECATUR, Ala. — As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, this week's Valley's Top Teacher is all about passion and progress in her classroom. In fact, her class motto is 'I will do my best to reach success.' Meet Ursula Caston from West Decatur Elementary School!

"I just love to see how excited children get when their little light bulbs turn on and everything is new to them," said Caston.

It's why her principal, Jennifer Edwards, nominated her, and hired her, too. " I like to hire teachers to be in it to win it," said Edwards.

Edwards says Caston works from bell to bell. "Her data shows that some students come to us, they don't speak English, they don't speak Spanish at all, they don't speak at all. And so, those first couple of months of school, we have to get them to speak and talk. So, to take them from there to knowing their letters and sounds, and to teach them how to decode and segment, and to read words. I see it in her data."

Caston learned over her twenty-plus years that developing a nurturing relationship matters. "That foundation is just giving them the level of trust, and once they have that level trust with me I think they opened up greatly and it allows them to not be afraid to communicate," said Caston. 

Keeping a positive attitude despite how their day goes is important, too. "They have good days, they have bad days just like we do and we just have to remember that they are little people, and if we respect them they're going to respect us and we can all do this together, and that's how I run my class," she added.

Do you know a great teacher who deserves some special recognition? Click here to nominate them as a Valley's Top Teacher!


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