Brandy Medlin stood behind the camera during morning announcements and listened as one of her former students, Javan, described the teacher who inspired and motivated him. She smiled thinking Javan’s description matched all the teachers at Keheley Elementary School. Medlin’s smile almost turned into tears when Javan announced that he only chose one Phenomenal Friday Teacher of the Week, and the honor went to her.
“We have so many amazing teachers that I teared up, thinking everything he said is exactly what a teacher should be,” Medlin said. “They should inspire. They should motivate. They should let kids know why they are here.”
Javan especially enjoyed learning math in Medlin’s class, but it was more than her lessons that influenced him. Her caring and “motherly” teaching style helped Javan build confidence and a strong bond with his teacher.
“On my last day [in her class,] I didn’t want to leave her. I didn’t want to go to fifth grade. I wanted to stay,” Javan confessed.
According to Medlin, who has been teaching at Keheley for 17 years, students are not going to learn unless they know you care. So, she tries to show all her students compassion and thoughtfulness.
“You could teach the best lesson, but if you are not connected to [the students], they don’t have any investment. They won’t care. They are not going to listen. They are not going to retain it. They are not going to actually absorb it,” the veteran teacher explained.
Medlin’s approach obviously succeeded with Javan, who recognized how much his teacher cared. As Medlin worked with Javan, his confidence grew, and his attitude toward school and his classmates changed.
“He was so excited to learn. He brought happiness to everyone around him. It spread through the classroom and made it almost like a family. He was at a heart of a lot of it,” the Phenomenal Teacher of the Week recalled.
Hearing the positive words Javan said about her during the morning announcements is the type of praise that motivates Medlin to keep teaching. She loves hearing from former students about the support she provided them in years past.
Javan understands why it is important to recognize teachers like Medlin who impact students’ lives every day.
“Education is a foundation,” Javan explained. “Without teachers, there is no education, and the whole foundation falls.”
Because of the foundation they have given him, Javan said he is not going to forget Medlin or any of his Keheley teachers.
“Keheley is the best elementary school in the whole world,” Javan declared.
The Teacher of the Week agrees with him. After almost two decades at Keheley, Medlin knows what makes her school stand out.
“Keheley is the best-kept secret in Cobb County,” Medlin insisted. “It is a small school. There is something about Keheley. It is the people. It is the families. It is the kids. It is the administration. We are like a big family.”
Medlin recently won a $1,000 grant from National PTA STEM and Mathnasium to host a family science and math night at the school on November 28.
Medlin doesn’t just want to help make a difference in her students’ lives; she wants her work as a teacher to carry over to the parents and Keheley families as well.
“What inspires me as a teacher is knowing that I’m trying to make the world a better place,” Medlin added.