BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - March's Teacher of the Month, Danielle Green, who teaches kindergarten through the 6th grade, dances to the tune of a different drummer.
"She's one of the best teachers I have known," says 6th grader Courtney Clay, who has danced with Ms. Green for years both at school and at Green's studio. "She's amazing. That's all I can say."
Danielle Green's classroom doesn't have desks. It has mirrors instead of a chalk board, and racks of costumes hang in the back along with large colorful backgrounds.
Green has been teaching at Batesville's West Magnet School for Performing Arts since the doors opened, and has developed her program as the student population grew.
"…(We had) between 120 and a 140 (students) that first year, and now we are over 500," says Green as she smiles and the walls and mirrors shake from the P.E. class in the gym next door.
"Well when I first started, it turned out to be really hard and then we started doing new dances it came up to be pretty easy," exclaims 4th grader Austin Taylor, who was sweating either from nervousness from being in front of the camera or from dancing.
Dancing is a tough work-out, and none of the 60+ kids on the floor were taking it easy. While cameras were rolling, Green put her students through three routines and joined in on the last round.
Green says the dance team performs at schools and basketball games and is getting ready to go to Branson.
All the kids try out for a position on the team, and every year each child on the dance team must audition to get his position back.
"It takes sincere dedication for the program for these children to succeed," explains Green.
"We practice every Friday sometimes from 3 to 6 and then we practice on Saturdays from 9 to 1 or 9 to 2," says 6th grader Trey Ford, who feels it's hard to get ready for a show.
Trey is just one of many boys on the dance team. Green says many of them have been dancing since first grade.
"The boys have excellent role models," Green says. "Our Batesville Pioneer teams are full of my ex-dancers that have succeeded greatly at sports. There is some peer pressure, but this is a performing arts school. We talk. We're just honest with each other about the bullying issue."
Green agrees it is unusual for a school to have a full-time dance teacher, but the lessons must go on. Her regular classrooms do dances from cultures, and learn about the culture as part of dance development.
"We work towards bridging that gap between the dance classroom and the educational classroom. If they can do things in here and get out in front of crowds and dance, then they can take those benchmarks and score really high because they have that self-esteem," says Green.
"She inspires kids to work hard and get it done, and she's nice and loves us and helps us with everything," 4th grader Lindsey Creighton claims as she leans against a psychedelic wall covering.
Teaching is a tough job, but Green says she couldn't be happier it. Even when you add in extra hours and tough physical demands, a great group of volunteers helps her make the best of every situation.
"I love my job, I do," declares Green.
Would you like to nominate your favorite teacher? Just go over to the main page at www.kait8.com and scroll down to the middle of the page. There, you can click on the Teacher of the Year link and fill out the application.
We have two more months to go until we select our Teacher of the Year.