TEACHER OF THE WEEK: Martin finds second career in the classroom

Published 9:30 am Friday, September 22, 2017

Kimberly Martin didn’t get her start teaching as soon as many people did.

After graduating from Francis Marion High School in Marion, she attended Wallace Community College Selma and became a hair stylist.

She spent 15 years in the field but felt like there was just something more she could do.

“I was a hair stylist for about 15 years, and I just wanted something else to do,” Martin said. “I went back to school and it was hard.”

She began taking classes to get a degree in education and, in 2010, graduated from Concordia College Alabama and began her teaching career.

“Concordia started this program where they would come to Marion to teach us, and that motivated me because it was right there, they came to us,” she said.

While in school, Martin said her two children Daja Suttles and Camren Mosely were still younger, and she had to miss a lot between working and going to school, but she knew deep down that teaching is what she should be doing.

“I love kids, and when I was younger that was something that I always did,” Martin said. “Everybody’s child was always at my house.”

Martin is now a third-grade teacher at Cedar Park Elementary School and spent the previous three years as a first-grade teacher at the school.

“It’s fun and inspiring [to be a teacher],” Martin said.

“With the first grade, the thing that I like is when they come to you, they can read a little bit but not much. But when you see the progress and growth, and they realize ‘I can read’ — to me, that’s exciting.”

One of the ways Martin keeps her students interested in their work is by providing them with hands-on learning activities. This week, they’ve been watching as pinto beans sprout and grow.

“They’re watching it grow and they’re looking at the length and color, whether or not it has roots on it and all,” Martin said. “To me, it has to be hands on and project base learning.”

Martin said she loves teaching and getting up every day to go to work.

“It makes you feel good when you come in and they run to you and they’re waiting to see you,” she said. “I just like to see their faces light up. It’s just exciting to me and them. I just like teaching. It’s exciting, it’s inspiring and I just like to see when they get it.”