Top Teacher: Estella Newkirt

Top Teacher: Estella Newkirt
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - All kids need to succeed is a little help, a little hope, and someone who believes in them.

Students have that in Estella Newkirt's class in Statesboro, at Mattie Lively Elementary.

It's easy to see that Newkirt has a passion for teaching.

"When my students leave me, especially when some of them live in poverty, how are you going to get out of poverty? With education. I feel if I fight with them to get that, maybe I'm doing something that is life-changing," Ms. Newkirt said.

Newkirt teaches 5th Grade Math at Mattie Lively.

"A middle school teacher does not have the time to teach the foundation. I think oftentimes, elementary school is overlooked. If you can't multiply, divide, have a conceptual understanding of those principles, they will struggle in any middle school."

She believes learning should be a healthy frustration for her students.

"What you struggle to get, you will never lose. I'm going to be giving for the rest of the school year. It's like an old car. I used to watch my daddy fix an old car, I could hear it turning over, tinker with it, and see that look of satisfaction on his face. That, to me, is teaching and learning," Newkirt said.

Seeing that lightbulb moment is what drives Newkirt every day.

"You have to understand the content is now at such a level, you already know ahead of the student the mistakes they are going to make, so you are able to fix it. Hold on, let's look at this in a different way. Without telling them, but guiding them so they walk into it, so they never forget how to do it," she said.

And never forget, education can take them anywhere.

"I want them to become dreamers. Education, it is so powerful. It has the ability to dream beyond their circumstances," Newkirt said.

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