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Educator of the Week - Thomas

By Laura Bannon
By lbannon@wbbjtv.com

SAVANNAH, Tenn. - When teaching English to a classroom full of teenagers, Natalie Thomas said it definitely has its moments.

"Getting to see students when they finally make progress when you finally have those light-bulb moments, we don't get them a whole lot but when it happens it makes teaching totally worth it," said
Thomas.

Working in the inclusion program at Hardin County High School for a year now Thomas said that from her previous years of work, there really is no difference from a regular classroom. "All of our students needed individualized education," explained Thomas. "They needed opportunities to have their needs met in a way that was unique for them." Thomas says that this program has been life changing and very rewarding.

The last year has been a challenge for Thomas but what she has found is that taking a hands on approach to learning is the best way to get through to all students.

"They all learn in a different way and so they learn visually, auditorially, or they learn in a tactile way. So we try whenever we teach a lesson to teach to all those different ways of learning," said Thomas.

As an educator trying to meet all those needs, this means adapting to every situation.

"I can't take a student who reads at a fourth grade level and hand them a 9th grade level textbook and expect them to master it perfectly," said Thomas.

When her students succeed, Thomas said she knows she has done her job. "I love the moments when I see my kids that I had years ago. Seeing that they achieved those long term goals and knowing that what I did in the classroom is actually changing lives for the better."