Engaging teacher now a finalist for top teaching honor

Mrs. Erica Wade teaches fourth grade at Lake Park Elementary School and she says she's always wanted to be a teacher. When you walk into her classroom, some call the atmosphere 'chaos', but 4th grade student Scarlet Minix calls it fun! "She doesn't want to teach something boring and make us really tired of doing all the work without fun in it. So she's says having fun would make it better" says Minix.

Whether that fun includes dancing, group work, computer games, or creating stories with the lesson material, Mrs. Wade says it's all about maintaining a quick pace to keep students on their toes. "I don't really believe that students are going to learn by sitting in their desks listening to me talk. They need to be engaged, they need to be interactive in their learning and that's the way I do it" says Wade.

But it's not all fun and games; she makes sure all students understand the material so they can pass their tests. 10-year-old Sam Williamson says he's comfortable asking his teacher questions. "She really explains it well and if you have any problems she'll like go over there and help you out with it" says Williamson.

Mrs. Wade says there's only one thing more important to her than teaching the lessons. "I love seeing the light bulb moments with the students, and when they've worked hard and reached their goal or if they've done well on an assignment to see their excitement and see their hard work pay off in the hard run" says Wade.

"She's the greatest social studies and science teacher even though I didn't really like social studies - she's made that change" says Minix.

Wade is one of eight finalists for the Dougherty County 'Teacher of the Year' award.

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