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Teacher of the year finalist: Tammy Harold

Posted: September 13, 2017 - 1:50am
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Tammy Harold works with students at Riverside Elementary School.
Tammy Harold works with students at Riverside Elementary School.

After 21 years of teaching in Columbia County, Riverside Elementary School's Tammy Harold said education is her hobby, but her students jokingly call it more of an addiction.

"I have taught every grade in some capacity in elementary school, and teaching is my hobby," Harold said. "My kids say it's my teaching disease and I'm a teaching addict, but I just really love it."

Harold attributes her excitement for teaching to her childhood, which was spent in 16 different schools in places including Canada and New Jersey, following her father's job in construction work.

But Harold said the exposure to a multitude of teaching environments ultimately inspired her to become a teacher.

"I spent my primary years in Canada, and Canada was very hands-on, project-based," Harold said. "I think I received a lot of my inspiration in Canada. Also New Jersey, (at) one of the schools I went to the teachers were just amazing."

Harold said these places incorporated project-based learning, a method she uses in her teaching today.

"It was project-based learning and it's something that I really want to instill with my students is that you learn forever, learning is so much fun, and I want them to feel the same way about learning that I do," Harold said.

And Harold said she enjoys staying abreast of the ever-changing ways of teaching.

"I am always reading research-based materials. I always want to know what's on the cutting edge; I am always very curious to know what other teachers are doing," Harold said. "I subscribe to blogs, I read every night about a paragraph to kind of decompress and get my thoughts back in order, and I am always learning about the profession, and it is always changing in wonderful ways."

But being a top five finalist is not a first for the second-grade teacher. Harold was selected as a top five finalist when she was at Martinez Elementary in 2014, but she said a lot has changed in four years.

"Four years is huge," Harold said. "I have learned so much in four years and I think that's it, there is just so much more to learn; every year and next year I will have so much more knowledge than I have this year."

Harold admits the job is challenging some days, but worth every struggle.

"It can be a stressful job, but the benefits outweigh any struggle, a million times over," Harold said. "I guess for teachers at the end of the day, we are kind of tired, especially in elementary school, but we are always ready to jump back in and do it again. I think it's a purpose, and I think it's a sincere purpose."

Harold said the familiar recognition is no less humbling to have received.

"The honor is really being chosen by the school, by my colleagues, so I am kind of in a dream, this has been so much fun and I have gotten so much support from the community," Harold said of her nomination as Riverside Teacher of the Year, and being selected as a finalist.

"I am overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed and I feel so blessed and humbled by this opportunity," Harold added.

Harold is among three other teachers in the running for the award. Two other top five finalists accepted administrative positions at other schools and will be ineligible.

 

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