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TOTY Spotlight: Tabitha Edenfield

Mrs. Edenfield started her student teaching at Sand Hill Elementary with Dana Wright, and after teaching second grade at Garden City Elementary School, she decided she wanted to teach closer to her home, Effingham County. She is currently on her nineteenth teaching year and teaches 5th graders at the place where she originally started her student teaching. In addition to 5th graders, Mrs. Edenfield has taught 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and has been involved in different 3rd through 5th grade Title I classrooms.

Being placed in different career environments throughout college helped her to realize the careers she did not want to do. As she flirted with these different careers, it became evident to her that teaching was the one she wanted to pursue; she could see herself in a classroom.

After getting a degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University, she began working in Chatham County a month after that. To compare to Effingham County, she realizes that Chatham’s school system is much larger, and this meant no one really knew who she was and everyone was more independent. Once she moved to Effingham County, she realized things were more structured and they tried to keep everyone on the same page about things. Since she already knew how Effingham would be running (from completing her student teaching here), this helped her as she came into her new position at Sand Hill Elementary.

This new position in teaching has helped her in learning many things, not just about her career. Her students have taught her the importance of laughter, and the importance of coming into work every day with a positive attitude. Mrs. Edenfield’s students keep her young and help her to stay energized.

“There is never a dull moment.”

As she learns these things and more from her students, she aims to teach them to always do their best. She tells them, “Mistakes are proof you’re trying.” If they never make any mistakes, they are never stepping out of that comfort zone and trying something new. And, if they do make mistakes, she wants them to learn from them and continue moving forward. All things don’t come easy, and she wants them to learn how to approach and work through these different things life will throw at them.

While teaching them these valuable life lessons and academic curriculum, Mrs. Edenfield’s favorite part about her job is the kids. The relationships formed throughout the year are important to her. Just simply having conversations with her students is worth so much to her. Through this communication, trust begins to form and progress. Knowing that they can come to her is something she wants them to realize. Whether it’s what they want to be when they grow up or different struggles they are facing, she cares. Personal connection is the biggest part because if they don’t trust her, then they won’t learn from her. Mrs. Edenfield does things out of the goodness of her heart and because she wants the best for her students. This love is shown throughout her teaching on a day to day basis. Mrs. Edenfield hopes her students remember the love she has poured into their lives.

As she uses her different strengths, she wants to ultimately learn more in order to teach better and be more efficient for her students. Mrs. Edenfield is always looking for something new to try, and she doesn’t mind trying it either. She is open to making changes for the better and doesn’t mind if someone can do something better than her. She wants to learn these more efficient and effective ways and apply them into her classroom. In learning different things herself, Mrs. Edenfield hopes to compile all of this together to help her students. Her motive behind learning new ways to portray curriculum is to advance things for the bettering of her kids.

Through this, she also wants to show them the importance of being productive citizens. This concept starts here – in elementary school. With the little things, such as being prepared and having their supplies for the school day ready, Mrs. Edenfield compares schooling to a job. What would happen if you showed up to a job with no supplies or without a positive attitude? She introduces this idea to them in a safe environment so that they remember how important it is to be prepared, and so they know the influence their actions can make. This practice is something she hopes her students obtain from her teaching and character once the school year is completed.

Mrs. Edenfield has a loose routine teaching style, loves to try new things and collaborate with teachers, and is a people-person. This makes her an awesome fit for such an accomplishment like Teacher of the Year. We are thrilled to honor Mrs. Edenfield as the 2016-2017 Sand Hill Elementary School Teacher of the Year!
 

Author and Photographer: Saralyn Helmly (Media Student Intern)



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