FOLEY — Amy Barker, Foley Elementary School teacher and Ursula Thompson, Foley High School teacher, have officially been named district Teachers of the Year for Baldwin County School System.The …
FOLEY — Amy Barker, Foley Elementary School teacher and Ursula Thompson, Foley High School teacher, have officially been named district Teachers of the Year for Baldwin County School System.
The two teachers were surprised at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet, held last month.
Amy Barker, who has been teaching first grade at Foley Elementary School for 16 years, said it was her high school English teacher that inspired her to pursue a career in education.
"When I was in high school, I had an English teacher who made a huge impact in my life," Barker said. "The way she taught and engaged us made that lasting impact on my life and that is when I realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to be that for other students and make a lasting impact on their lives."
Barker said she was shocked by her win, and said she owes much of her success to her fellow colleagues at Foley Elementary School.
"It was a big surprise, I really don't feel deserving of it," Barker said. "We all put in so much work for every student, but I'm very humbled to have been chosen for this award."
Barker said that while she has had challenging days, it is her students that keep her motivated and encouraged to teach year after year.
"I actually found a card the other day from a student. It said, 'I know you're hard on me, but that shows me you love me'," Barker said. "It's those little things that inspire me, everything I do is for the students."
Ursula Thompson, who began teaching English at Foley High School in 2017, said while she always planned on teaching younger children, her passion for teaching older students caught her by surprise.
"I had never thought about teaching teenagers, but I knew I needed to get my foot in the door somewhere," Thompson said. "I was so scared the first day, but I quickly fell in love with this job. It is important that my students feel loved by me, and I feel strongly that making my classroom another home for them is one way to show I care about them."
Thompson said she was shocked by the win.
"It was a total surprise, but one I feel incredibly blessed to have received," Thompson said. "I teach to make a difference. I teach because I feel called to do it. I have challenging students and challenging days, but those pale in comparison to the days I get to interact in positive ways with my students."