Michelle Towery – Class of 1992
Fifth grade science teacher, Drexel Elementary School

Elementary school teachers are some of the most hardworking people on earth. Each day they must be completely prepared, consistent, energetic, in control, flexible, and able to adapt.

Michelle Towery has been teaching elementary school for 24 years and still finds the job truly rewarding.

“I began teaching third grade at Drexel Elementary,” says Michelle. “The following year the old Drexel Junior High building was refurbished and our third through fifth grade classes moved into the new Harry L. Hallyburton Elementary School. I worked thirteen years at Hallyburton, teaching all subjects in third grade. Our school closed, and we rejoined the primary building to once again become Drexel Elementary. In my sixteenth year of teaching, I reluctantly moved to fifth grade to mainly teach science. I have been teaching science each year since, and I love it. I never would have thought that I would enjoy teaching fifth graders, but it has been wonderful.

“I enjoy teaching because each day is different. We have many discussions in reading and science class about various topics. I love to be able to share something new with students. It is very rewarding so see that spark of interest come alive when they make connections with how the world works.”

Every job has its challenges, but finding a way to surmount them brings great rewards. “There are many challenges with being a teacher. Time is one of the main ones. I always feel overwhelmed with all the many things I have to get done but never have enough time. Sometimes I just have to prioritize what needs to be done and what doesn’t have to get done right now. Sometimes it just comes down to how much energy I have to put into certain projects.

“However, the rewards of being a teacher are what outweigh the challenges. I have had the privilege to spend a year with some wonderful students. I love to see them when they are grown up and find out what job they choose.” Michelle received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Western Carolina University in 1996. Then, as many working teachers do, she went back to graduate school in the evenings to earn a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University in 2007.

“I have had many wonderful educators throughout my years as a student. As an elementary teacher, I often think of my two most inspirational elementary teachers from George Hildebrand, Mrs. Susan Robinson and Mrs. Diane Sietz. Their fourth and fifth grade classes always felt like my home away from home. My favorite part was our teacher read-aloud time. I always try to find time in our busy schedule to add in a teacher read-aloud time.

“As a science teacher, I often think back to the science activities I had in Ms. Sherlyn Blevins class. We had lots of hands-on experiences that I will always remember. Even though it takes more time to plan those types of activities, they are well worth the effort. Students really begin to think about what they are learning when they can experience it. I find that students learn the most when they come up with questions that we use to lead our discussions on the science curriculum.

“While at East Burke, I was a member of the Future Teachers of America organization. We were given the chance to visit a school, and. I chose to return to George Hildebrand to talk with my former teachers about what it was like to be a teacher. That visit affirmed my plans to become an elementary teacher. My future goals are to continue to learn professionally and to share my teaching experiences with others.”

Published March 2020

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