BUTLER, Ala. – Getting up every morning to teach preschoolers is no easy task for the average teacher, but for Pam Moody, it’s what she loves.
Moody, who teaches K-4 at Patrician Academy in Butler, Alabama, is the recipient of the Golden Apple Award for November.
During a Tuesday morning school assembly, Moody was surprised by Patrician Academy headmaster Billy Burnham and her family, who all celebrated her for the achievement.
“I am very happy about this award and just feel honored,” said Moody. “I’m not sure I really deserve it, but I just love what I do and I enjoy teaching these kids.”
“I believe this award is a great way to recognize teachers for what they do and I am very grateful,” she added.
A 32-year-old veteran educator, Moody began teaching at 25 in the Choctaw County School District with her sister Patti Christopher, a first-grade teacher who won the award five years ago.
“It feels great for both of us to win this award,” she said. “We’ve always worked together and I’ve just enjoyed teaching my students and sending them straight to her where they can continue to build on what I’ve taught them.”
Some people become teachers to change students’ lives or to share their love for a particular subject, but for Moody, it’s their love for children.
“I just enjoy the kids,” Moody said. “I don’t feel like it’s really a job. I love coming into my classroom and seeing them, especially the four year olds, because they are making such great progress.”
“It’s just fun to watch them. Seeing what they know and then watching them go with what they’ve learned just gives me great satisfaction,” added Moody.
Working with younger children requires a lot of patience and attention, but Moody doesn’t feel pressured and takes on the challenge on a daily basis.
“They’re just so excited about school,” Moody said. “The kids absolutely love their teachers and I’m happy when they learn, that just drives me, it’s my love for the little ones.”
Teaching preschoolers comes with its own set of challenges, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, Moody has had to adjust to teaching from home.
“It was a challenge,” she said. “I’ve tried many things to make the class seem normal, but it’s difficult to get preschoolers to focus on a Zoom call.”
“I came up with the idea of zooming in with every single kid, and for what it was worth, it worked better than anything. I’m just happy that we were able to go to the classroom together again,” Moody added.
As a teacher, it can be bittersweet watching students transition to the next grade, but Moody believes she instilled in her class some core values that will help her students in the future.
“One thing I try to focus on teaching my students is kindness,” Moody said. “We’re a family in this classroom, we help each other, and we’ll be together forever.”
“These values are important to me and I will continue to teach them,” added Moody.
Golden Apple Award
Moody received $1,550 in cash and prizes: $300 in cash; $250 gift certificate from Walmart; and $1,000 (approximate value) in school supplies from Avery Products. Each Golden Apple Teacher of the Month will be honored at the Golden Apple Awards Banquet on May 25, 2023 at the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience. Teacher of the Year will receive $1500 and a custom Teacher of the Year trophy. The Teacher of the Year is also allowed to select a graduate who receives a scholarship.
Sponsors of the Golden Apple
Title Sponsorships: East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Meridian Coastal Television and The Meridian Star; Major Sponsors: The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience, Woodstock Furniture, Mississippi Power, Walmart, Avery Products, Richard Schwartz, Something Southern; Participating Sponsor: Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
How to nominate a teacher
Nominations for the monthly Golden Apple Award may be submitted by parents, faculty or community members, and past or current students. Candidates must be a current full-time faculty member in Pre-K through 12th grade (public or private) and work in the following counties: Lauderdale, Neshoba, Kemper, Clarke and Newton in Mississippi; and Choctaw and Sumter in Alabama.
The nomination process consists of an essay (no more than 500 words) explaining why the individual should be considered for the award. Nomination details and an entry form are available online at www.goldenappleawards.com.