‘My words are coming to life’
Reading books and learning about technology are two areas Georgia Kemp likes to explore with her students.
The fourth-grade teacher is the Vicksburg Intermediate School Teacher of the Year making her eligible for the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year honors.
Kemp said one of the things she enjoys most is reading to her students. As she reads, Kemp asks her students questions to get them thinking about what they are hearing and to come to conclusions they may not have previously thought about. She said it was a defining moment when she read the book, “Bud Not Buddy,” to her class.
“When I am reading to students, I see that my words are coming to life,” Kemp said. “I am able to make real world connections that makes reading more enjoyable for my students.”
Another important aspect of her classroom is incorporating technology, which she said is her favorite part of being a teacher. She said her students use Chromebooks, tablets and desktop commuters in class to read the news and to do research. She said she is learning right along with her students.
“To ensure that my students stay involved and connected to real world events, I expose my students to technology,” Kemp said. “I’m learning also. I get excited. Some of my students may not have technology at home, but here in the classroom we have so much, they’re excited about it.”
She believes setting goals, both long and short term, is key when it comes to motivating her students. She has a Brag Wall outside her room to highlight her student’s work and to let them know she is watching them.
“The students know that when they try and put forth effort, their possibilities are endless,” Kemp said. “The Brag Wall that is exhibited on the outside wall encourages students and lets them know that I see their efforts.”
Kemp has an associate degree in general studies from Hinds Community College and a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Alcorn State University.
She was an assistant teacher for 19 years at Jett, Cedars and Warrenton elementary schools, which she said changed her life. From her first day at school, Kemp knew she wanted a classroom of her own one day. She said she wanted to make the same connections and build the relationships she saw teachers making with their students.
“Being an assistant teacher gave me an opportunity to work with well experienced educators. It gave me the foundation I needed when I became a teacher,” Kemp said.
Since 2009, she has had her own classroom at Vicksburg Intermediate.
“I teach because I can be every profession at the same time,” Kemp said. “If I had the opportunity to do anything else, I still would teach.”
Kemp said her efforts to become a teacher inspired her daughter to go into the same profession. Her daughter, Kayla Slack, is in her first year teaching at Dana Road Elementary. The mother and daughter’s schools are on the same campus, and they share ideas with each other.
“She’s constantly telling me I inspired her to become a teacher,” Kemp said. “I hope I inspire my students to become teachers or anything they want to become.”
Outside of the classroom, Kemp has been a member of Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers Club in Warren County for 21 years.
Twenty-one teachers in Warren County were nominated for teacher of the year. The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce has selected a panel of educators to interview each school’s chosen teacher and will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year on Feb. 15. Both teachers will receive $1,000.
Today’s story is the 18th in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year.