GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - TV20 believes North Central Florida has some of the most dedicated and talented teachers around, so we are partnering with Gatorland Toyota to reward some of those exceptional teachers.
Each month a teacher nominated from within our viewing area will be awarded $500 for his or her classroom.
It's called "One Class at a Time." Meet December's winner Haley Courts, a fourth grade teacher at Hidden Oak Elementary.
She was nominated for One Class at a Time by one of her current students.
“I’m like, 'Mom, we totally have to nominate her!'” said fourth-grader Morgan.
And the whole class seemed to agree with the decision when we surprised Ms. Courts with a check from Gatorland Toyota.
“It means a big deal. Not just the money, the money’s awesome, but just the recognition itself is even better," said Ms. Courts. "And it’s nice to hear it from the kids how much they appreciate you."
Ms. Courts’s students say her outgoing personality and positive attitude set her apart from other teachers.
“She is just the person you want to be around every day of the week," said Morgan.
“She’s just a good overall teacher and funny,” said fourth-grader Radley.
“She’s funny, she’s super sweet, and she’s just amazing,” said fourth-grader Gabbi.
Whether it means wearing quirky T-shirts or incorporating jokes into her lessons, Ms. Courts brings her fun sense of humor into her classroom, and her students definitely enjoy it.
“She’s really pretty, intelligent, she’s funny,” said fourth-grader Bryana.
“She puts in really corny jokes that I think are hilarious,” said Morgan.
Her individualized approach to teaching gets her students' attention and helps them excel in the classroom.
“She walks around and like makes sure everybody has it, and she gives out lots of packets…lots of packets so we can understand,” said Gabbi.
“She helps a lot, like I’ve struggled a little bit, she’s helped, I’ve gotten my level now,” said Bryana.
“She’s a good teacher. She describes stuff really well,” said Radley.
“If there's a student that doesn’t want to participate, she’ll make it to where they’ll want to participate, but won’t make them participate," said Morgan.
Having taught in Gainesville for 10 years, Ms. Courts says her continued love for her job comes from the special connection she shares with her students and the joy she gets from watching them succeed.
“We work hard, and we’re here until 5 o’clock at night a lot of nights because we want what’s best for our kids," said Ms. Courts, "and I say our kids because they’re our second family, they’re our kids.”
“She’s been my favorite teacher ever at Hidden Oak, like ever in my life,” said Morgan.
"Yes, and she’s like my second mom, too,” said Bryana.
If you would like to nominate a teacher for One Class at a Time, enter your submission here.