A Hartselle teacher is getting big props in our WHNT News 19 Tools For Teachers project. Maureen Matson teaches Kindergarten at Barkley Bridge Elementary School.
Matson has been successful grabbing the attention of her students and their parents.
Brittany Sparkman says her son Jay's first experience inside a classroom is one of the best.
"Not only does she teach them everything they need, she is a fabulous role model," said Sparkman.
Matson goes above and beyond, and at times, even attends her students' sporting events.
"Mrs. Matson is a prize of a Kindergarten teacher here at Barkley Bridge," said Susan Hayes, the principal.
Hayes says there's a transformation that happens to Mrs. Matson's kids, and it's amazing to watch.
"Students, when they come in the building in September, wow, that student -- they may struggle a little in this area or that," said Hayes.
But come May...
"You will just be blown away by the kind of progress that children can make under her wing," Hayes said.
So with a polite knock on the door, we surprise Mrs. Matson in her classroom.
"Mrs. Sparkman contacted WHNT News 19's Tools For Teachers about a teacher who is wonderful -- a very special teacher," said Hayes. "Students, who do you think that was? Mrs. Matson!"
"Channel 19 is offering you $319," we said.
Mrs. Matson was speechless, but the kids couldn't contain their enthusiasm, cheering and clapping for their teacher.
"This is just wonderful," Matson said.
With the excitement of the surprise, you'd think class might be done for the day. Think again.
"Take your whisper phone with you and walk to your stations," Matson said.
So, despite our cameras being there, the 5 and 6-year-olds were once again completely engaged in the learning process.
"And they love you, in kindergarten they are honest, they tell you exactly what they think," Matson said.
On this day, it's all smiles for Team Barkley Bridge.
"This is the love of my life, teaching," said Matson. "I have been teaching for 29 years. These kids, you can see them grow every single day."