Callaway Middle School Teacher of the Year Latasha Knight teaches life science

Published 9:25 am Saturday, December 16, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: The LaGrange Daily News is doing a Q&A with all of the teachers of the year in the Troup County School System. Today we are writing about Latasha Knight, a life science teacher at Callaway Middle School. We asked her 20 questions, and we’ve shortened this interview to some of our favorite responses. 

Knight has worked in education for 14 years, with six years in the Troup County School System. This is her fourth year at CMS.

Knight is a single mother of one. Her daughter is currently a junior at Troup High School.

Outside of school, Knight serves in various positions in her church and sings in the Burkes Chapel/Pine Mountain community choir.  Knight is also three-year member of the local Christian Grief Share program in LaGrange. She also serves as a volleyball mom for 85 South Volleyball Club.

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN EDUCATOR? (OR WHO?)

A: “My aunt and a distant family member who is also a church member, inspired me to become a teacher. My aunt was a former educator for many years in Kansas.  My family member actually taught here in TCSS for a number of years.  These ladies never ceased to amaze me.  In my eyes as a child, they managed work, church, and home very well.  They were true role models to all the young girls. “

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER ASPIRATIONS?

A: “My dream is to become an independent educational consultant. This would allow me to talk with educators and students all around the nation and provide them with first-hand knowledge and experiences that would allow opportunities to explore all options.

Q: IF YOU WEREN’T A TEACHER, WHAT CAREER FIELD WOULD YOU BE IN?

A: If I were not a teacher, I would probably be doing something in the criminal justice field such as a probation or correction officer.

Q: WHAT HIDDEN TALENT DO YOU HAVE THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOUR STUDENTS AND OUR READERS?

A: I don’t have any hidden talents because I share my talents quite often with others around me, even my students.  I sing and I cook. I am often singing in the classroom and occasionally will bake a treat for my students.

Q: IF YOUR TEACHING STYLE HAD A THEME SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A: If I could give my teaching style a theme song it would be Drake’s song titled, “Started from the bottom.” Not only have my teaching skills come a long way but even when I am teaching content, I like to start with the basics and build on them.  So by the end of the year, just like in the song, the students can recognize their growth and take ownership in it. As the lyrics say, “ started from the bottom now we here.”

  

Q: WHAT’S THE MOST CREATIVE/UNIQUE PROJECT ONE OF YOUR CLASSES HAS WORKED ON?

A: “The human body system choice board is always an interesting project simply because the students get to choose what systems and what activities they would like to include in their projects.  Some of the activities are to create their own models of a system, create a song/poem with movements that explain the function of a body system, create a children’s book about the body systems and create an informational commercial about one of the systems.  This project allows the students to be creative in their own ways.” 

Q: IF YOU COULD INVITE ANY HISTORICAL FIGURE TO SPEAK TO YOUR CLASS, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

A: “If I could invite any historical figure to speak with my class, I would invite Ms. Ruby Bridges.  She was the first Black student to integrate into a white elementary school in 1960. At only six years old, Ruby walked by protesters screaming awful slurs and angry words at her every day. And yet, she never missed a day of school. She later became an activist and helped to fight racism and promote tolerance and change through education. I would like her to share her story and talk about how her journey has had an impact on ALL children and educational systems everywhere. Her story could teach tolerance and teach people how to get along with one another.”

Q: WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?

A: “The most rewarding part of my job is to not see this as a job but an enjoyment.  To see children grow and grasp different learning experiences is so rewarding.  Especially at the middle school level, students begin to realize their potential.

Q: WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR JOB?

A: “The most challenging part of my job is knowing that no matter how hard you try, you just won’t reach every student.”

Q: WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE NAMED YOUR SCHOOL’S TEACHER OF THE YEAR?

A: “Being named the teacher of the year was validation for me. I had forgotten my purpose and started to question my continuation in the education system.   I sometimes felt as if my dedication and hard work was in vain. But being voted by my colleagues and administrators, I know that something I am doing in our school is positive. Now being named the teacher of the year has given me a new role and opportunity.”

Q: AS YOUR STUDENTS TRANSITION TO THE NEXT GRADE OR GRADUATE IN MAY, WHAT IS ONE KEY TAKEAWAY YOU HOPE THEY CARRY FORWARD FROM THEIR TIME IN YOUR CLASS?

A: “There are so many takeaways I want my students to carry with them throughout life and one is that nothing is given to you, you must work to earn it.  I also try to instill in my students that hard work does pay off.  No matter what field  or area in life, you must give it your all.”