Kids in the sixth grade are at a milestone in their education, moving from elementary school to the middle school phase. That's part of what makes one sixth grade teacher in Morgan County so loved.
Kimberly Dockery's classroom at Eva School is unique. It's an information-rich environment where students are constantly clicked in to the digital age.
Students know they have Ms. Dockery to thank. Recently, the students approached the principal, Patrick Patterson, and asked if Ms. Dockery could be part of WHNT News 19's Tools For Teachers award.
Patterson said yes.
"[She's] on the cutting edge of technology," said Patterson. "She loves her students and those students love her because of what she gives them every day."
However, it's not just about the smart boards or the mobile computer labs.
"Lots of people, their motivation is 'I like technology so I am going to use it'," Patterson said. "She knows the kids love it, and that's why she does it."
So, we barged in unannounced.
"You have been selected, so I have, on behalf of Channel 19's Tools for Teachers, $319 for your classroom," said Patterson. "Kids, what do you think? One, two, three hundred and 19 dollars!"
It was a wonderful surprise for this humble and tearful educator.
"This group has been wonderful this year. We have done so much together," said Dockery. "They have come a long way. Sorry I am getting upset, but I have made a real good connection with them this year."
"You have that wonderful balance, to where there are huge expectations and then she follows it with expectations for herself," said Patterson.
"I try to reach every student," Dockery said.
And she does it the good old-fashioned way, too.
"That is what is important to me. I try to differentiate their instruction to their level, to teach them where they will succeed the most," Dockery said.
This was our final Tools For Teachers report for the 2011-12 school year. WHNT News 19 will start handing out honors and cash again in the fall. Stay tuned for information on how to nominate your favorite teacher.