Jessica Murphy, a fourth-grade teacher at Model Elementary School (MES) in Floyd County and graduate of Georgia Highlands College (GHC) was recently named the Floyd County School System Teacher of the Year.
For Murphy, receiving the award was a pleasant surprise and the result of her lifetime goal of being a teacher.
“I have wanted to teach since I was in the third grade, and it’s pretty unbelievable that you can be so highly recognized for something you love doing,” Murphy said. “I was nominated along with some pretty impressive teachers, and I think we all deserved the recognition.”
In addition to being named Teacher of the Year for Floyd schools, she was also nominated as Teacher of the Year by MES.
“Unlike the Floyd County School Teacher of the Year recognition, I made the people that I work with proud and that means more than anything,” Murphy said.
She described her time at GHC as a positive introduction to higher education.
“All of the staff was so helpful and supportive, and I learned so much from my time there,” Murphy said. “The education program and introduction classes helped guide me in the right direction for my career.”
One class that particularly stands out during her time at GHC was a summer semester studying World Literature.
“It was one of the hardest classes, but I loved it. It opened my eyes to so many different pieces of literature that have a place in my heart today,” she said. “I think that is what drives me as a literature teacher right now.”
Her advice for anyone considering becoming a teacher? If you’re not 100% positive, visit a classroom.
“If you reach out to principals, they will be open to letting you come in to observe. As you continue your career field, make learning challenging and fun,” Murphy said. “Take an assignment and that would normally be a drag and spice it up. Make the students want to come. Finally, build relationships with your students as you teach as relationships are key.”