Q. How many years have you been teaching, and what subjects and grades are you currently teaching?
A. I have been teaching 15 years in McDuffie County. During my tenure, I have always taught eighth grade in the following areas: Georgia history, language arts, and reading. Currently, I am teaching at Thomson-McDuffie Junior High, where we are on a mission to support lifelong learning and promote the successful transition of our students to Thomson High School.
Q. Tell us about your family.
A. I am honored to have my mother, Deloris Ann Palmer and my aunt, Lorraine Palmer Ross, who have helped to foster the love of learning. They are truly my role models because they have shown me that by working hard and treating everyone with respect, I can truly be happy.
Next, Deon, my son, has taught me that life is really what you make it. Deon has shaped and molded me into the teacher I am today. I truly believe if it were not for him, I would not teach with so much passion. When I am constructing a lesson or when I look into my "babies" eyes and know that they are baffled, I have to re-teach, refocus, and regroup so I can see that light bulb turn on. I teach them as if they were my own flesh and blood. Because, how can I expect someone to instill the love of learning in my son, if I don't instill it in the children that walk into my path everyday? Parents trust that I will make a difference in their children's lives. For this reason, I will teach them with creativity and innovation so that we, as a team, can make a difference.
Q. What do you do when you're not teaching?
A. Reading, to me, is like quenching a thirst on a hot day. Flipping through the pages of a novel allows me to broaden my horizons. I enjoy using my vivid imagination to see the world through characters' point of view. Most importantly, reading allows me to be a role model for my son, as well as my students. How can I, as an educator, ask them to read when I myself do not? With so many people losing jobs and needing a place to live, and my grandfather and niece, John Henry Palmer and Sky Powell, being diagnosed with cancer, I am an avid supporter for The Augusta Missionary, Relay for Life, and St. Jude Children's Foundation. Moreover, I attend Macedonia Baptist Church, which is located in Sparta, Ga. But on any given day, you can believe, my favorite pastime is spending time with my mother, my son, Deon, and my best friends, Sonya Strong, and Latasha Johnson.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
A. With so many changes being made in education, one must be able to adapt quickly; therefore, I really enjoy the challenge of preparing children for the next level of learning, preparing them to exceed on state-mandated tests, and preparing them to believe that they can make a difference.
Children who walk into my room remind me of a river that flows through a narrow ever-changing tunnel toward a greater purpose yet to be discovered. To chart this river's course, I must be willing to be patient and intellectual in the craft of guiding immature students from all diversities so that they can flow with self-esteem and the power to believe that they can succeed.