Enjoy our Teacher of the Year Profile series each Thursday in the Statesboro Herald February 23 - June 1. Mattie Lively Elementary School's teacher of the year is Kristin N. Blythe. This is her story.
My name is Kristin NeSmith Blythe. I am a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Mattie Lively Elementary School, where I have taught for 11 years. I’ve been an educator for 16 years, previously serving in Screven County. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Early Childhood Education and Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University.
From a very young age, it was my dream to become a teacher. On any given day, you could find me sitting in an old child-sized wooden rocking chair in the playroom of my house with dolls lined along the wall. In the front of the room there was a green chalkboard and a dusty eraser. I would spend hours upon hours teaching my dolls the things I was learning in my real life classroom.
Yet, as I enrolled at Georgia Southern University, I hesitated to declare education as my major due to other interests and fields I wanted to explore. Growing up the daughter of a law enforcement officer was exciting! I wanted to follow in my daddy’s footsteps. However, after completing several classes in the criminal justice field, I realized my early desire to become a teacher was much stronger than my desire to “chase the bad guy."
Sixteen years later, my passion for teaching children has not once wavered, but only grown deeper with each passing year. I have had the opportunity to work with children in first and fifth grades, but the majority of my career has been spent with those in fourth grade. Each day is a challenge in itself as motivating and engaging lessons are planned, the needs of many diverse learners are met and relationships are established and fostered. Choosing to pursue the education field has surely been a challenging and rewarding profession.
Building relationships is an essential component of my personal teaching style. I strive to make students feel welcome in our classroom and to understand the importance of the role they play in our classroom community. Students understand that not only am I concerned with their academic success, but also their overall wellbeing. I encourage students to build relationships with one another as we take the time to encourage each other and celebrate the successes of our peers.
I consider my job as an educator to be a privilege. I know without a doubt that I am following the path in which God has laid for me. I have been blessed with 16 years of educating the children of tomorrow, and would never give a second thought to trading it for “the chase” again!