Selfless, positive, and encouraging – those are the words used to describe fifth grade teacher Tina Crowden at Speake School in Danville.
“I get to come in here everyday and do what I love,” smiles Mrs. Crowden, the Valley’s Top Teacher. “And at the same time I’m making a difference.”
Mrs. Crowden is truly driven by passion. She used to be a stay-at-home mom. She started substituting about thirteen years ago, that’s when she knew her calling was to be a teacher.
“I remember the day I told my husband I want to be a teacher, and he said really? And I said yeah,” shares Mrs. Crowden. “I started college, went straight through, and here I am!”
She has been teaching full time for five years now and is truly a light in the lives of her students.
“We start our day off every day positive,” Mrs. Crowden explains. “I wait at the door for them and I say ‘good morning’ and ‘I’m glad you are here today’. I always think that you never know which child might really have needed to hear that, and might have been that one child to turn their day around.”
She builds a relationship with each of her kids and tells them they are her “school babies.” She tells them she loves and cares for each of them.
“We got some new kids in school this year and she helps them to like tell them what to do and stuff,” says Jordan Payton Garrison, a fifth grade student.
“She was nice and she liked to help out people, and she was funny,” explains her former student Layla Terry, a fourth grader.
Mrs. Crowden keeps her class fun, flexible, and different each day in order to keep her kids engaged.
“I do it for them, it’s not for me,” says Mrs. Crowden. “It doesn’t matter to me whether I have desks, tables, or whatever kind of seating, but they like it, so I do what makes them happy. It is all about my students.”
“Every Monday she changes us up the seating, where we can go to different spots and sit for the week and stuff,” says Jordan Payton Garrison.
At the end of the year she wants her kids to know she cares about them and wants to see them succeed.
“I’m always going to be here for them if they need me,” says Mrs. Crowden. “It is my hope that every one of my students who walk through my door, walk out a little better than when they walked in.”
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