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Bethany King embraces God’s plan

By Bernie Moussad for the FCT

bernie.moussad@fct.wpengine.com

 

Bethany King of East Franklin Junior High has been awarded one of the highest honors a teacher can receive: Teacher of the Year.

King was a graduate of Russellville High School in 2003. Having always loved school, she decided to pursue a degree in teaching. She went to Northwest-Shoals Community College for her associate degree; afterward, she attended Athens State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. King said she has hopes to begin her master’s degree program soon.

After King graduated, “I started subbing for Franklin County Schools, Marion County and Russellville City Schools.” Eventually, she obtained her first full-time job: a special education aide at Tharptown Elementary School. “I worked there for one year and was transferred to East Franklin Junior High teaching second grade,” said King. She was finally doing what she had worked for: teaching.

That year was “wonderful but challenging,” King said. “Those kids will always have a special place in my heart.”

She then moved to sixth grade in 2015. She said she was incredibly nervous about moving, but “God had big plans for me and my sweet kids.” Every day with those students, King said. was wonderful for her. They made her job fun. She, in turn, tried to make learning fun for her students. “It was challenging sometimes because of all the state testing we had to prepare for,” King said. “We did a lot of student-led assignments and projects.” She said she enjoyed seeing them work together and be engaged in whatever task was given.

This year, her class received Chromebooks from Donorschoose.org. “This was a great resource for our classroom,” said King. “I love to incorporate technology as much as I can. It is a great tool to use with my students to reinforce lessons and engage them in all subject areas.”

This class will always be special to King. “I always called them ‘my kids’ because in our year together they weren’t just kids on my class list; they became part of my heart,” said King. “I gave them respect, and in return, they gave me respect. We had an unforgettable year.”

Her ultimate goal was for her students to remember this school year. She said she wants them to look back 20 years from now and remember their time in Mrs. King’s 6th grade class.

 

King said she was completely surprised when she was chosen as the Teacher of the Year. She felt that she worked “with some of the best teachers in the world.”

“I felt so excited and overwhelmed with emotion because I was so surprised,” King said.

King “will be moving on to a new chapter in my life,” this year, as she becomes the new 5th grade reading teacher at Phil Campbell Elementary. She has begun to set goals for her future students and herself. She said she hopes to “challenge my students and myself to never stop learning and to always do their best.” “I also want to manage my time better,” she added. Another goal is to incorporate “new tools I learned about in workshops this summer.”

Nancy Hallman, principal of East Franklin Junior High School, said she feels King is “the perfect example of what you would want for your child to have in a teacher.”

“Mrs. King was willing to put forth all effort to make sure that her students could meet the demands of the new course of study,” Hallman said. “She would try new ideas and strategies, and if that wouldn’t work, she would try something else.” Hallman said she admired King’s persistence to try new things with her classes. She saw the compassion King had for her students and “in turn, her students loved her.”

 

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