DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) – The Wiregrass is full over wonderful teachers that go above and beyond for their students each day.
So, News 4 and All-In Credit Union want to recognize their dedication to teaching and enriching our children.
I recently sat down with Highland Elementary Spanish teacher Andrea Daugherty to talk about her passion for exposing her students to a variety of Spanish cultures.
Daugherty didn’t always know she wanted to be a teacher.
“Before I was a teacher? I used to be in retail,” she said.
Just 5 years ago, she was an assistant store manager for Office Depot.
But all that changed when her own children started going to school.
Daugherty started subbing at Providence Children, where her kids attended.
That’s where she discovered her inspiration to start teaching full-time in the form of a fellow teacher.
“When I saw how great she was, how she talked to them. Her teaching was impeccable. I really enjoy seeing teacher like that made me want to be a teacher.”
Daugherty went back to school for the first time since moving to America at 18-years-old, choosing to focus on an area of study that’s important to her.
“I grew up in Columbia. I went to school in Columbia. And so, by me teaching a second language, I’m actually offering the real thing,” Daugherty said.
That decision didn’t come without fear.
“I didn’t know how they were going to take it. But then I started reflecting. What I’m teaching is, I’m teaching life lessons. I’m teaching what the world is about,” she said.
Students at Highlands Elementary come from a variety of backgrounds.
Daugherty teaches them to love and appreciate that.
“It’s important to get to know each other. It’s important to learn from each other, so we can be better people,” Daugherty said.
For the last three years, Daugherty has organized a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the school.
It gives her students the opportunity to showcase their hard work in the classroom and to love their culture.
“I want them to not only feel proud, I want them to share what their culture is about. Our music, our foods, our countries. Everyone has so much to offer, and I want everyone to learn from these children,” she said of the celebration.
As for stories about using what they learn in the classroom in the real world—
“I do have a lot of students that say to me ‘Mrs. Daugherty, I went to a Mexican restaurant, and I ordered my meal in Spanish.”
—They make Daugherty happy to know that she is shaping the future for the better.
“Makes me feel proud. And it makes me feel like I want to give them more and more and more and be better. So every day I strive to be better, I really do,” she said.
If you have a teacher that you feel deserves to be recognized, you can nominate them using this form.
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