PHS graduate Anna Walker recently took first place in “Teach and Train” competition at the National Conference for FCCLA in Washington, D.C. Walker also competed at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. To earn a spot at this competition she had to compete and place first at both a region competition in January and state competition in March.
What do you love about early childhood education?
I could spend years talking about why I love early childhood education. You teach children the basic subjects and teach them how to love learning and give them the confidence to believe they can go for their dreams. There is nothing better than watching a child learn to read and know that it is because of you.
What do you do for fun?
I love traveling to new places. Whether it be to places like Haiti or some where just around the corner, to me a new place is a new adventure. I love learning the history of every place and creating memories with my friends. Some of my favorite memories come from traveling on the Youth Mission Trips with First Baptist Church of Jasper. It is wonderful to see how God is not only working in our lives not only here but in Waycross, Ga. or the Dominican Republic.
What is your favorite subject to teach?
Probably English, which is extremely ironic because I am not the best at writing and I am probably one of the worst spellers in Pickens County, but I love teaching children to read. Last year I worked individually with students who need a little bit of extra help in English and it was the most amazing thing to watch as these kids went from not knowing their alphabet to reading and writing cards for my birthday.
What was your favorite school lunch meal when you were a kid?
Probably the Thanksgiving meal from Jasper Elementary. Not only was it the best meal but it was always such a fun day at school with my friends and teachers, and my grandfather came every year.
Do you wish teachers still used chalk boards?
In sixth grade I had the unique experience of having my teacher use an old-fashioned chalkboard. It was not until then that I realized how the sound of chalk on a chalkboard is one of the worst sounds in the world. It would send chills through my body, so I quickly became very grateful that my other teachers did not use them. I have since grown a love for dry erase boards!
When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?
It was always what I wanted to do. Even as a child I didn’t have imaginary friends, I had imaginary students. When I started working in Mrs. Rutledge’s kindergarten class I was reassured that teaching is the career I needed to pursue, but I could not have discovered it without the seed my Grandfather, Rev. Charles O. Walker planted many years ago. He said to obtain a teaching degree because there will always be a need for teachers. Also the example that my grandmother Betty Anne Walker set. I was named after her and I have always felt that we were kindred spirits. Teaching must just run in my blood.
Who is your hero?
First my grandfather Reverend Charles O. Walker. My Papa was my first best friend and my biggest supporter. He listened to everything I had to say and would give me the most Godly advice on everything. Also my grandmother. She earned a undergraduate and Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and was a loving teacher and did everything she could to give every child an equal opportunity, whether it be making sure they had a warm meal or pouring her heart and soul into opening and directing Tate HeadStart.
But I would not be the student, competitor or educator I am today without Joan Rutledge. She encouraged me and taught me everything I know about Early Childhood Education and she loved me. My grandparents planted my teaching seed but she made sure that it grew into a wonderful flower.
My future plans including attending the University of North Georgia for my undergraduate. After having a midlife crisis at the age of 17 and some serous talks with Jesus I realized I need to stop fighting God’s plan and go where he is leading me. So that is how I chose North Georgia. I plan on studying Early Childhood and Special Education. I hope to then travel on the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 different countries. After that I plan on earning a Master's degree in Family and Consumer Science Education, that way if desired I could later teach future teachers how to teach. After all that I plan on returning to Pickens to teach Kindergarten and live a happy life in the community that I have been blessed to call home.