ELKMONT, Ala. (WHNT) - Ask a teacher what they love most about their job and you'll more than likely get the same answer: the kids.
One local teacher though, has a commitment to helping children that extends beyond the classroom, to her own home.
Missy Bailey is a 5th grade teacher at Elkmont High School. She's been spending a lot of time with Levi Adams, teaching him to read.
"It's something that we're doing together," Bailey insists.
They may be working together but, before joining her classroom, Levi struggled to read or spell. That's changed rapidly and Levi's family has noticed. Helen Carter, Levi's great aunt, thought Bailey's hard work warranted a WHNT News 19 Tools for Teachers award nomination.
"I think she just listens, listens to her students and tries to help them," Carter explains, noting that Bailey has been helping students in a meaningful way for years now.
Carter also wanted us to know Bailey's impact on youth extends beyond the classroom. The school teacher has fostered an incredible 19 children. She also has three biological children of her own.
When WHNT News 19 showed up to present Bailey with the $319 prize, she was stunned but grateful. There were plenty of hugs to go around as well.
"It's just nice to see that people recognize you're trying to do something good," Bailey explained after the surprise, when asked about her family's fostering history. "The way we started the whole foster and adoption path was that one of my students in my classroom needed a home."
That first foster child is all grown up now, with her own little son.
"She's made a lot of difference, in a lot of lives, I know that," Carter insists.
Bailey tells WHNT News 19 the money for her classroom will be a huge blessing and that she plans to buy a document camera and thirty new books for her students.