DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - WITN's Teacher of the Week for September 11 is Hope Smith from North Duplin Elementary School in Duplin County.
Smith lives in Grantham with her husband. She has two daughters and a stepson.
Smith is in her 28th year of teaching and currently teaches first grade at her alma mater elementary school. She says her middle and high school principal first hired her to teach at Beulaville Elementary School after she graduated from Barton College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.
She went on to teach at North Duplin Elementary School, which is the school she attended from first to twelfth grade.
Smith says her former teachers inspired her to become a teacher.
"School was always my favorite place to be. I want to create that same kind of environment for my students. When they walk in the door from whatever kind of family they have at home, I want them to feel that our classroom is a family of people who love and encourage each other in every way that we can. I want my students to know above all that they are loved for the special people that are individually and they can be kind and loving at all times even when they may not experience that in their homes,” says Smith.
Smith says one of her proudest moments of her career was when her daughter followed in her footsteps and began teaching first grade. They currently teach at the same school and her daughter is teaching in the classroom she first began teaching in.
The person who nominated Smith wrote, “She is such a loving teacher. My daughter loves her so much. She comes home wanting to tell me about her day and how Mrs. Hope (that’s what her students call her) has taught her in class today. My daughter can read a chapter book with more than a 100 pages and she is only in the 1st grade! This is absolutely amazing for a teacher to care and teach at such a good level. Mrs. Hope’s father passed away recently and she is still in such good spirits and loves her students, as well as her job. She is a teacher because she honestly loves her job. What really caught my eye was, I had just picked up my daughter and we were going through the drive through line and she saw Mrs. Hope and she said “Bye Mrs. Hope” and Mrs. Hope says “bye honey I love you.” That just warmed my heart to hear a teacher say that to my child. She has been through so much in the past couple months with her father passing and still loving her job and students. I think she deserves to be acknowledged for being so good to other people’s children and has a huge heart!”
Congratulations, Mrs. Smith!
Every week during the school year WITN will recognize a Teacher of the Week on WITN News at Sunrise. The winner receives a plaque and $100 gift card for school supplies.