BAY, AR (KAIT) – The final Teacher of the Month for the 2012-20113 school year has spent her entire life in Region 8. Mrs. Amanda Grisham, who teaches 3rd grade at Bay Elementary School, grew up in the Jonesboro area and graduated at Nettleton High School before pursuing a degree at Arkansas State University. After college, she got her first job as a teacher in Craighead County.
"I started at ASU in 1993 but realized I wanted to be a teacher earlier on in my life and just knew as a young child that I liked children, and I wanted to do something with children and teaching is one of those careers that you impact many of children along the way," said Grisham.
Grisham said every student is different, and her biggest challenge is reaching everyone. She said she doesn't want to hold back those who excel or leave behind those who struggle.
"I have 25 students. They are full of spirit, full of energy. They are very sweet but they are a lively crew and each one contributes to the class," said Grisham. "That's the biggest challenge is making sure those who might not have the extra help at home, that you're providing them the extra help here, and that's where my heart is. My heart is on the students who struggle."
Another challenge for Grisham is that some students are overwhelmed with the amount of information packed into lessons.
"When I first started out, everything was very thematic, everything, they wanted you to teach, just the themes and you taught your social studies and you science and everything through the themes. and then we kind of went back more to the basics and started doing the reading groups like when I was in school," said Grisham. "I do think the pressures and the demands on all children, kindergarten through 12th grade, are greater than what they used to be."
Grisham was nominated May Teacher of the Month because of her ability to create an exciting learning environment. Her nomination letter reads, "You will never be surprised by your child making a bad grade or not understanding something because Amanda will call you to make sure you are aware of what is happening.
She is one of the most open teachers I have ever met, by that I mean she is willing to take her personal time to talk to parents and grandparents about their child."
"At the end of every day, you reflect on what you can do to help those students who are struggling," said Grisham.
Grisham also said she never expected to be in the running for Teacher of the Year.
"It makes you just kind of think that what you're doing is worthwhile. In that, sometimes you do think that it's a thankless job, but there are people who appreciate it, and the kids appreciate it," said Grisham.