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Byrd named Teacher of the Year

In her 19th year of teaching, Resa Byrd, a fourth-grade teacher at A.L. Lotts Elementary School, received the East Tennessee Teacher of the Year award and recognition.

Byrd just wanted to be the teacher she didn’t have.

“I never had a teacher stop for a moment and help me with a couple of the little hurdles I had in school. Because of that, I had a series of failures that dominoed on me,” she said.

“I thought I could be a teacher and be sensitive to children and their problem areas and meet a need that I had had at their age,” she added.

So what has she discovered students need the most?

“Students not only need academics, they need someone that cares, that will take time with them,” she said.

“We just need more time with the children. We have a short amount of time to get through the curriculum,” she added, sharing she often told her students she wished she could teach them until 5 o’clock.

Byrd said she felt lucky to teach at A.L. Lotts and acknowledged not all schools were equal.

“We are very blessed at A.L. Lotts. Not all schools have the support that we have. That concerns me. I wish I could make things more equal for children in education,” she said.

Byrd’s son-in-law also is a teacher – at a school without a library.

“I can’t imagine an elementary school without a library,” Byrd said.

Despite any education shortfalls, Byrd said children often can do more than they think they can.

“I get very attached to my [students], at the same time, I want them to be ready to leave.”

“When they leave, they may not always know everything, but they have the know how to find it

“There is always a learning [process]. It can look like creative chaos, but there has to be a learning standard,” she said.

“Everything is to learn,” she added.

Byrd has three daughters, all finishing degrees at The University of Tennessee and Tennessee Technology School.

It wasn’t until Byrd became a mother that she knew teaching was her calling.

“When my first child was born, and it gave me the confidence to go back to college,” she said.

Byrd also has one grandchild, Kate, 3.

“She’s a twinkle in my eye. It’s so much fun to be a grandmother,” Byrd said.

Education is an always-changing field, Byrd said: “I’m continually learning and trying to be on the cutting edge.

“I think education is constantly changing,” she said.


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