Behind the mask staff spotlight: Ms. Teasley

Cherokee has many creative and hardworking teachers. This week we are going to focus on one; Ms. Teasley, or called Ms. T by her students, came to Cherokee in 2018. She teaches 9th Grade Literature, Journalism, and all three photography classes. She is also over both the Photography Club as well as the Cherokee Newspaper Club.

She previously taught with Rome City Schools for seven years at the Phoenix Performance Learning Center, a non-traditional high school program for Rome High students. Her son’s academic challenges and needs meant a need to be in the same school district and of more support, since they were districted for Bartow, and that’s what brought them to Cherokee County Schools, which was much closer to home.

In 2015, Ms. Teasley was awarded the title of ‘Teacher of the Year‘ by the Georgia Association for Alternative Education. Her broadcasting projects have won state and National awards that have put her work on the map. Alongside this, she also has a Youtube channel where she posts some of her lesson activities as well as video tributes and trips with and for students.

Ms. Teasley is loved by her students, and with all of her hard work, how could they not! She makes all of her lessons interactive and always has entertaining hands on projects. She is known for her constant use of costumes, which she corresponds to her lesson plans, and also bringing a cheery spirit into the classroom.

We got some testimonials from two of Ms. Teasley’s students.

Ms. Teasley is one of my all-time favorite teachers. She is always supportive, and I know that I can have a conversation with her about almost anything. She always makes sure to congratulate me on my achievements, and she always knows when to give me an extra push when I lack motivation. I am extremely grateful of the relationship that I have developed with her over the past two years.

Kayla Pimpleton, second year student in Ms. T’s Journalism class

Ms. Teasley is the kind of teacher who genuinely cares about her students. I have only been in her class for a year and I could tell in the first week of school that her classroom was the kind of place that offers every student a safe space. The effort she puts into all of her classes amazes me and I am so glad that I have had the pleasure to be in her class this year. Her class will always be one of my favorite memories from high school.

Ava Lees, first year student in Journalism

We asked Ms. Teasley a few questions and she was happy to answer.

(Most photos used have been from previous years)

What classes do you teach at Cherokee?

This year, I’m teaching 9th Lit, Photography, and Journalism. I’ve also taught video broadcasting.

Why did you start teaching?

Actually, my parents are both teachers, so out of self-obligation to not follow in my parents’ footsteps, I said I would never be a teacher. When you’re young, you don’t want to be your parents’ shadow. 

After starting as a music performance major in college (bassoonist), and then pursuing freelance professional writing with my English degree, I realized there was a common theme of isolation I was experiencing when moving towards these careers full-time. That’s not fair to those careers because they’re both awesome, but I couldn’t picture myself doing either until retirement. I was driven to do something that would bring a light to the lives of others, and felt a strong passion to help people find confidence and strength in their voice, especially in our world today.  I started seeing the fulfillment my parents felt.  

Something I also desired–there’s almost no box of limitations in teaching to connect with students. I mean, if you want to be non-conventional, creative, artistic, or even bring in movement, you can.  If you want to rap a spoken word, go for it. And no one year is ever the same. For a person diagnosed with ADD, it is wonderful to get to do so many different, exciting, and engaging things with so many people rather than sit still each day and wonder why I’m doing what I’m doing. Students and their families also become a part of my own family. I watch them grow up, have kids of their own, see them be successful in careers, and there’s nothing better than that. 

What is one thing Cherokee could improve on, or one thing we’re doing well?

I love the passion at CHS! Everyone I work with is not only an amazing teachers, but freaking awesome humans. They love what they do, and genuinely love the students and meeting them where they are. That’s what CHS does so well!

As for any area of growth? I worked in alternative education for seven years before joining CCSD. I would love to see a mentor program grow here as we had there. We could definitely benefit from professionals in the community coming to work once a month with our young men and women. In my prior school, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority worked with our young women and the Omega Men and Omega Psi Phi fraternities worked with our young men. These groups spanned several generations, so they spoke from great life experience. 
Another thing we need? Teleporter between Main and North. 

Overall, Ms. Teasley has proved herself to be an amazing teacher that has touched the lives of many. Cherokee High School, and their students, are extremely thankful to have such an incredible teacher.

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