PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Another entry has been made for Teacher of the Year award, which will be given out at the end of this school year. Ms. Brandi Harris, a native of Paragould, is December's Teacher of the Month.
"(I'm) completely honored. There is not an accomplishment that happened on my own. I wish I could have several people standing behind me because they lady that works with me, Ms. Staci, oh my goodness, I couldn't do it without her help. There's no way," said Harris, who has been teaching at Greene County Tech Primary for 16 years. "Where else can I go for somebody to draw me a picture and tell me they love me all day long? I get to do what I wanted to do, which was be with kids."
Harris was nominated due to her work with a student who has behavioral issues. The selection committee for the award recognized her "can do" attitude with all students.
"I definitely believe God intended me to teach younger kids. This is what he made me for," said Harris.
Harris said she learned about one child before the school year to help transition from daycare to pre-school. She said she could not have made the transition as successful as it has been without help.
"If I didn't have parental support, I only have them during the day for 8 hours. When they go home, if they're not encouraged at home about how they behave at school, then I'm not going to get anywhere, because they know it doesn't matter when they get home," said Harris.
When talking about her nomination, Harris said she was surprised and in shock.
"It's not in vain. It's noticed. It's recognized. It gives me encouragement to continue because it's not going to always be, it's not all roses now with that child. It's not. It's not going to be for the rest of this school year. We've made improvements. We're going to continue making improvements," said Harris. "I pray a lot about it, and I seek out my coworkers, my principal, other special needs teachers that have dealt with certain behaviors, other therapists, other speech teachers, other special needs teachers, anybody that I think could give me some advice on things like that, I consulted with all of them."
The most challenging part of Harris' job is reaching every student.
"You've got different backgrounds and different things that each child comes from. You've got to take that into consideration because a lot of times that makes a huge difference in how they can learn at school, (such as) their parents and what's happening at home," said Harris. "They are always happy to be here and always happy to see you. When you teach preschoolers and you get to have fun, I'm obviously teaching them and we're learning, but I think their learning takes them by surprise. They just think that we're having a good time."
In early December, her students learned about different Christmas traditions and read books about the holiday. Harris said, however, her favorite time of year is in the spring.
"I really like the science stuff, the life cycle things. Like the life cycle of a pumpkin and then in the spring when we watch caterpillars turn into butterflies. (That's) probably my favorite thing that we do," said Harris.