Michele Finley can be found giving words of encouragement to her fifth graders at Islands Elementary School everyday.
She loves teaching. You could say it's in her blood.
"My mama taught school, seems to me like forever, and she's a 30 year veteran teacher in Fitzgerald, Georgia, and when I would go off and on to college, I wasn't sure about my major," said Finley. "I was changing from interior decorating, then I'd go back to education."
At that time, her advisors told her she had a "knack" for teaching.
Even then, she kept a calm demeanor around her students, never raising her voice to make a point.
Her students say she is the same way today- and that's why they signed their own petition to make their teacher a WTOC Top Teacher.
"She's a wonderful teacher and she brings smiles on students' faces," said Deja Johnson." And when we're down, she makes us happy."
Above all, Mrs. Finley says she wants her students to learn how to respect and love everyone, no matter what their differences may be.
So, she tries to lead by example.
She shows respect to her students, and they truly respect her.
"It makes me feel great because I love my students and they love me too," said Finley.
For her teaching the basics along with character building, Michele Finley is this week's WTOC Top Teacher.