By Charlotte Underwood
CARYVILLE, TN (WLAF) – Teachers make a difference in their students lives each and every day. For many students, having a teacher who cares and goes that extra mile can be the difference in a successful education and graduation. We’ve all had that teacher who inspired us or helped in some way. That’s why WLAF and Eagle Tire Pros salute all of our hard working educators with a weekly feature.
This week’s featured educator is Caryville Elementary School’s Mackenzie Smiley. She teaches 4th grade math and science at Caryville.
Smiley is from LaFollette and graduated from Campbell County High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Carson-Newman University.
She is in her third year teaching, all of which has been at Caryville Elementary School.
Smiley said she had always wanted to become a teacher since she was little and knew it was what she was “called to do.”
“I had so many wonderful teachers throughout the years,” Smiley said.
She credits her second grade teacher, Lena Nelson, as the person who inspired her to follow her dream of becoming a teacher.
“The love and compassion she had towards her students set the example of the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I want my students to feel how I felt in her room,” Smiley said.
She said there is so much she loves about her job, but her favorite part is the moment when something finally clicks for a student, and they get to celebrate that victory together.
“Math, especially, can be difficult at times, and I love being the person that helps them overcome those difficult moments, while instilling the skills they need in the future to overcome those moments on their own,” Smiley said.
When hard days arise, she said she always reminds herself of the “everlasting impact” she has on her students’ lives.
“I want to be the person they know is always in their corner cheering them on, even after they leave my classroom. I love getting to cheer them on and celebrate all kinds of victories with them, whether it is finally understanding a challenging math skill or when winning a basketball game,” Smiley said.
Every Thursday, WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood features the WLAF – Eagle Tire Pros teacher of the week. That educator also receives a free oil change from Eagle Tire Pros. To nominate a teacher for teacher of the week honors, please send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/04/2023-6AM)