William Smoak has been a fifth grade teacher at Rainbow Elementary School in Madison for 17 years.
“I started my career in a galaxy far, far away,” laughs Mr. Smoak. “I am just kidding, the kids know how much I love Star Wars, so I had to add that.”
As you might be able to tell, he is known for being full of jokes.
“Mr. Smoak is a really good guy. He likes to tell a lot of jokes,” smiles Jacob Moore, a 5th grade student.
“He tells a lot of jokes and he makes math fun,” says Kamiah Spears-Fields, a 5th grade student. “At first I didn’t like math that much, but he’s making me enjoy math.”
He may be known as a jokester, but he is also known for how much he cares for his kids. His students say he is always smiling at kids in the hallways and spreading positivity.
“It is one of these things where I have learned, you greet them in the morning and tell them goodbye in the afternoon,” says William Smoak. “I take pride in trying to say everybody’s name when they walk in the door. Good morning, good to see you, have a good day. If I can tell a student is off a little bit, I will talk to them a little bit and find out what is going on.”
Mr. Smoak works with kids in small groups and one on one. Being well prepared is something that is very important to him. Mr. Smoak will stay later and even come in on weekends to make sure he has effective and fun lessons for his kids.
“Those science activities, the hands-on learning aspect, it takes some time to have it planned out,” explains Mr. Smoak. “You can’t just walk into the building and say hey, I want to do this fun, hands-on activity.You have to be mentally prepared and have everything organized and ready to go, put the tubs on the kids’ groups, and be ready to roll.”
Mr. Smoak exposes his kids to highter levels of learning to prepare them for middle school, but never lets anyone fall behind. His greatest joy is watching his older students grow and succeed.
“That puts an extra hop in my step at the end of the year, you know when we have like a week to go. Bob Jones or James Clemens gets out early and kids come back to see me. That just, it’s an awesome feeling, it’s a blessing, it’s a true blessing,” smiles Mr. Smoak.
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