Helping children to believe and achieve is Alana Weare Carver's goal as a fourth-grade teacher at Deer Chase Elementary School.
"I tell them that whatever they think they can do, they will do. That's the bottom line," said the teacher, who is in the early intervention program. "Some of them came in thinking that they couldn't do something, but each day I reiterate that they can. The power of suggestion is an amazing thing. Now there's nobody in here who thinks they can't do it."
According to the Georgia Department of Education, the early intervention program targets "students who are at risk of not reaching or maintaining academic grade level."
Making the pupils less anxious about making mistakes is one of her goals, Ms. Carver said.
"Kids are sometimes so afraid to make mistakes that they just don't try. I tell them, 'This is school. This is where you learn, and it's OK to make mistakes,' " she said.
"Though they may not get it at first, it's OK because we are going to work on it and we are going to meet our goals. They can still learn the material, and they will learn it."
Ms. Carver likes to be creative in her approach to teaching.
"I try to make learning fun, so I do fun things to help them remember material," she said. "If we need to create a song, we'll create a song. If we need to draw, we do that. If we need to come up with a dance, we do that, too. If it'll help them learn, I'm all for it."
The pupils also have their own victory dance to celebrate their accomplishments, she said.
"It's a fun way to celebrate, and they know when they accomplish something they've been victorious," she said. "They've stepped up to the challenge and won."
Ms. Carver's pupils respond well to her because they know she cares, said Beth Woolard, who works with Ms. Carver in the classroom.
"She tells her kids on a daily basis, 'I really love you,' " Ms. Woolard said. "They know they are loved. However, if they do something wrong, she lets them know.
''They don't blow up or get upset, though. They know she's correcting them because she cares for them. Just knowing someone cares is motivation to do their best."
Being a teacher means being a cheerleader, Ms. Carver said.
"I pull for each and every one of them, and when they know someone is pulling for them it can make a world of difference," she said. "That's why I enjoy teaching -- because I can make a difference."
Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEACHER OF THE MONTH: ALANA WEARE CARVER
FAMILY: Daughter Avery, 7
SCHOOL: Deer Chase Elementary School
GRADE TAUGHT: Fourth
HAS BEEN TEACHING: Since 2001
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