“We continue the learning by filling each others’ buckets daily with written compliments to each other,” she said. “I love to see the students spreading kindness to others and to see them smile when they read the sweet things their classmates have said about them.”
A teacher at Buhl Elementary School for five years, Hodge has taught in Tuscaloosa County for 10 years. She teaches third grade and received a Bachelor’s of Science in early childhood education from Valdosta State University in 1991.
“I believe that my biggest accomplishment as a teacher has been to be someone that can be counted on to not only educate, but to love and care for my students,” she said. “When students are having trouble understanding a lesson, I encourage them, give support and guidance, provide manipulatives and models, or change the approach to the lesson. I never let them give up on learning or themselves. There is great satisfaction in learning something that is initially difficult.”
Hodge said her advice to new teachers would be to seek help and advice from veteran teachers, along with continuing to learn and strive to be a better instructor.
“Education is always changing, and teachers need to continue to learn in order to provide the very best for their students,” she said.
Camie Heard, a mentor to Hodge, provided an example that Hodge implements daily in her own instruction. Hodge said Heard’s teaching style led her students to love her because she took a real interest in their academic and personal lives.
“If I’m having a bad day, I usually just tell the students that it has been a rough morning or day and that I am struggling,” she said. “They always respond with a loving smile, hug, encouraging words, or with a sweet note of encouragement. My day is instantly better.”