A good day for Nancy Thweatt is when the students in her first-grade class learn something new after having struggled with a lesson. Thweatt said when the proverbial light bulb goes off, she’s done something her students will be able to carry on to subsequent grades.
Thweatt has been a teacher for 18 years and the first-grade teacher at Wells Elementary School for 12 years. Although she has taught second and third grades, she prefers first grade.
“They’re more open to learning in first grade, but if you can catch them now when they’re young and just get them interested in school and … make it fun, then you’ve got them,” Thweatt said. “They have a good personality. They enjoy laughing, and I enjoy having fun with them.”
During her years as a student, Thweatt said she wasn’t always interested in school, but if she found an interesting teacher that connected with her, it made her like school a whole lot more. Those teachers were the reason she chose her career path, and she said she always liked working with kids and wanted to help them learn.
Thweatt considers herself a conventional teacher, but tries to include technology because that interests her students. Her students share a laptop cart, and they log on once she teaches them something. A “tech” comes in every Wednesday and helps them learn a new skill which they incorporate in class.
Thweatt said kids nowadays are a lot different than when she was in first grade, but technology has been great in helping them progress and learn new things.
“This [year] is probably the most, as far as using the technology, that I’ve done with this particular class,” she said. “It seems like it’s just made so much of a difference, and things they weren’t getting before, now they’re able to pick up because they hear it and they’re seeing it in so many different ways.”
Thweatt said her favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing all the different kids come in with different personalities and watching them change and grow.
She sees herself teaching for another 25 to 30 years.
“I just consider myself a plain old teacher. I just do it because I love it; that’s really the only reason,” Thweatt said. “I just want to see them do their best. I just want them to be the best that they can.”