The fourth grade classroom of Dawn Thomas at Whitesburg School is a place where students feel safe and loved.
“I take the approach that I am a teacher at heart, but I am a counselor by nature,” explains Dawn Thomas, the Valley’s Top Teacher. “I pay attention to the moods of the children.”
Her students say she is always filled with joy and describe her personality as positive and radiant.
“Really nice, tender-hearted, caring, and hardworking,” smiles Jordyn Halflett, a fourth grade student.
“My teacher is very hardworking and good-hearted,” says Deonte Daniel, a fellow fourth grader. “She is a nice teacher and she loves to help everyone. She is there for you when you’re hurt.”
The motto of Mrs. Thomas is relevance, rigor, and relationships. She says relationships always come first.
“They are no longer looking at me as, okay this is just this teacher, this Dawn Thomas,” shares Mrs. Thomas of the importance of relationships. “They mostly look at me like a mother figure, and they don’t want to dissapoint their parents, so they don’t want to dissapoint me.”
Her kids say they feel like they can go to her with anything, whether they need help with a math problem or just need someone to brighten their day.
“Well when you’re sad she helps you and makes you feel a little bit better, she makes you feel a lot better,” explains Deonte Daniel. “She ends your day in a happy mood.”
Mrs. Thomas says each kid learns differently and needs to be cared for in different ways.
“She makes sure that all of her children feel loved,” says Jordyn Halflett.
Dawn Thomas says this career is more than just teaching, and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I’m doing a little bit of counseling, a little bit of motherly love, and they appreciate it,” smiles Dawn Thomas. “It warms my heart to know I’ve made a difference in a child’s life.”
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