Teacher of the Month shares how her journey to the classroom inspires her students

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
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BROOKLAND, Ark. (KAIT) - A teacher is many things to students: An inspiration, a listening ear, and maybe even a friend.

However, February’s Teacher of the Month is all of that to her students, but her drive to teach started from her own personal journey.

Six years in the classroom have been full of giggles and gentle learning.

“I feel like she is just so passionate. She cares so much about those kids,” said Josh Wright, Brookland Middle School Principal.

Starla Gibson is a teacher at Brookland Middle School and is the Teacher of the Month.

When asked how she was feeling after the surprise, she said she was “shocked.”

Gibson said she wanted to be a teacher for a specific reason.

“I just wanted to help kids, because when I was in school, I was actually in special education,” she said.

Gibson’s journey to becoming a teacher may have been different from others, but that is why she wants to help other students that are sitting in the same seat she was once in as a student.

“I think it helps me understand the behaviors that they do and as far as academics I see them make, I made the same ones,” she said.

Gibson said being a SPED student at one point helps her as a teacher, as every day in her class is different.

“Chaotic,” she exclaimed. “We have a lot of coming and going, we have a couple of different grade levels and a bunch of different personalities.”

Although her classroom dynamic is ever-changing, Gibson wouldn’t change it for anything.

“I feel like it helps me understand them a little bit better and help push them where they need to be,” she said.

Reporter Imani Williams asked Mrs. Gibson what she would tell one of her students if they also aspired to be a teacher when they grow up.

“I tell them all the time all they got to do is try. I was in special ed, I made it through college and I’m a teacher, and they can do it too,” she responded.

Williams read a part of the Teacher of the Month nomination to Gibson. It read as follows:

“Mrs. Gibson is an amazing teacher. She works hard for each of the students in her classroom. She meets all of them on their levels to help them reach their highest potential. As a SPED teacher, she also has to be willing to work with the parents more closely than a typical middle school teacher, and she does an excellent job.”

“I think especially when they are in special education it is even more so important to work with the parents because they have more concerns and different things happen and it’s helpful to keep them informed,” Gibson said.

You can nominate a teacher you believe is deserving to be the next Teacher of the Month by clicking here.