Manila teacher named KAIT February Teacher of the Month
Cindy Smith, second grade teacher at Manila Elementary, was named KAIT Teacher of the Month for February.
Ms. Cindy, as she is known by her students, has 27 years in the classroom. She spent most of those years teaching kindergarten, moving to the second grade last year. She is a Paragould native and has a Masters degree in early childhood from Arkansas State University. She said she has a few second generation students and that is fun.
Ms. Cindy is still excited about her teaching career and works hard to make learning interesting for her students. She still remembers her first day in the classroom like it was yesterday. She has been known to make it snow in her classroom during a snowless winter. Her classroom enjoys green eggs and ham during a study on Dr. Seuss.
She encourages her students by using a positive attitude.
She said the technology and training over the last three decades have changed. Kindergarten was once what pre-kindergarten is today.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Cindy is a mentor to two new teachers this year. She has worked with many interns through the years and was very excited when one of her former interns was named Teacher of the Year last year.
"I was honored to be named Teacher of the Month but I want to share that honor with all of my co-workers," she said. "We meet and we plan for our students."
Among the tributes in the nomination letter for Ms. Cindy was her work and training to help students with dyslexia.
Ms. Cindy has a daughter, Spencer, who is a senior at Manila High School.
Some of the comments made by Ms. Cindy's students include: "She is the best teacher in the world." "She always lets us help." "On Friday we do fun things." "She lets us draw a lot." "She has a marble jar."
"Each year we meet new challenges," Ms. Cindy said. "I feel honored to be selected because there are a lot of wonderful teachers doing a very good job."