Proudest Moments from the Classroom in 2018

We recently asked members of our Teacher Advisory Council to share their proudest moments from 2018. Here’s what they had to share about the work that’s being done in classrooms across Tennessee.


Lori Farley

Lori is a media specialist at North City Elementary School in Athens.

“This year my students were given the opportunity to learn how to use Microsoft 365, and the first thing they were eager to explore was PowerPoint. I gave them the freedom to create a PowerPoint about anything they wanted as long as it was appropriate for school. My students blew me away with the results! Students focused on themes of leadership, success in reading, achieving goals, persistence, belief in oneself, and how to become a champion in life! Wow! It certainly was a proud moment to see the students taking the life and leadership skills we are learning and molding them into their own beliefs!”

Bryan Schultz

Bryan teaches high school science at L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville.

“My proudest moment in 2018 was when over 100 students attended the annual UTK Engineers Day.  This provided our young scholars the chance to engage and explore the wonderful world of STEM learning and future career paths.  Recognizing the importance of helping to educate the next generation of problem-solvers, I am grateful to have a role in the development of STEM curriculum and enrichment opportunities.”

Amy Whaley

Amy teaches career and technical education at Morristown-Hamblen High School West in Morristown.

“My proudest classroom moments this past semester have been watching all students gain early post-secondary opportunities and connect learning Microsoft Office to actually seeing it applied.  Students worked with an engineer at Colortech, a local chemical plant, to enhance and apply their Microsoft Excel skills.  Students viewed Excel spreadsheets with control colors made to dye the polymers in plastics.  I’m ecstatic to share that 39 of my students passed 91 Microsoft Office Specialist Industry Certifications, and 15 of those students passed dual credit exams at our Walters State Community College.  Many of my students are English language learners, but that did not stop them from earning early post-secondary opportunities.  All means all in my classroom.”

Melissa Miller

Melissa teaches first grade at Franklin Elementary School in Franklin.

“My proudest moment occurred after we spent the week reading, researching, and writing about bats. Near the end of the week, one of my students created a poster at home about saving bats and brought it to school to share. She made copies and wanted me to hand out the posters in my neighborhood (PRECIOUS!). Some of the friends in class heard that bats are endangered and they wanted to do something to save the bats. They made posters together in our after school program and started a bat club. They said, “We sit together at lunch and talk about what we learn in class. We let other people join our bat club that weren’t in our class so they could help, too.” My desire is to fuel students’ passion for learning by teaching with passion. Seeing learning come to life as children connected to their community and world, and witnessing how the passion of one student inspired others was one of my proudest moments of this school year so far. I cannot wait to see what these future leaders do next!”

Valerie Godina

Valerie teaches art at Henry Elementary School in Henry.

“I have always felt a strong responsibility to teach my students the importance of accepting those who are different from themselves. I always tell them, ‘You are not always going to agree with everyone else, but at least be respectful of their beliefs.’ Recently, I had a student tell me that each evening at the dinner table, his family discussed whatever topic that we covered that day. He would tell the class of debates that they had and his discussion usually led to a deeper understanding for the class. I am proud that my student thought enough of what we spoke about in class that he wanted to continue the discussion at home.”

Carlin McGlown

Carlin teaches seventh grade social studies at Munford Middle School in Munford.

“My proudest classroom moment from 2018 was when my seventh graders eagerly accepted the challenge to send letters via mail to students in California.  They were excited to learn the art of addressing letters correctly and thrilled to receive letters from other students.”

Michael Robinson

Michael teaches high school social studies at Houston High School in Germantown. 

“My proudest moment in 2018 was when a student of mine who suffers from some challenges (including anxiety) was able to earn an A- on his semester exam. Success on the exam did not come easy; several emails were sent between me and his parents, working on a plan to help him prepare for the final exam. I was so proud of his hard work and his commitment to be successful. I must admit I was equally proud of his parents for their dedication and perseverance in helping their son succeed.”  

Cicely Woodard

Cicely teaches seventh and eighth grade math at Freedom Middle School in Franklin.

“A proud moment in 2018 happened when one of my students volunteered to present his thinking during our 8th grade Algebra class. As he walked to the front of the room he said, “I may make a mistake, but at least I will learn something.” The other students offered cheers of support and words of encouragement. I am proud of the classroom environment that we have established where mistakes are welcome, where it’s perfectly acceptable to cheer for each other, and where students feel valued!”

Nancy Miles

Nancy teaches third grade at South Side Elementary School in Johnson City.

“During the week before our winter break, one of my students was working a long division problem and was agonizing over it! I work to establish a culture in my classroom that values productive struggle, so I was trying to let him work it out on his own. When he began to rub his head, I decided to go over and see if I could offer some support. He grinned at me and said, “Mrs. Miles, I’m gonna make it happen with this ole’ division, you just watch and see!” He continued to work another few minutes and finally came up with the correct quotient. I wouldn’t trade anything for the big, wide smile he gave me. He felt the success that comes from pushing through a difficult concept without giving up, and I was so proud of him.”