Posted Date: 11/17/2020
Holly Isbell: 2020-2021 Merryville Elementary Teacher of the Year
“Teaching is heart work.”
This saying inspires Holly Isbell, third grade math, science, and social studies teacher at Merryville High School. Isbell believes that a person has to have a deep love for children to be a teacher.
“I love my students,” she said. “I put my heart and soul into everything I do with them in the classroom.”
Isbell demands hard work from her class, and expects that they engage from bell to bell each day. However, she also knows that learning must be fun. She incorporates music and songs to help with learning and memorization. She also gives students dance breaks in the day.
“There are times when we have been working on a difficult topic and their brains are on overload,” she explained. “It is at those times that we take a dance break, move around, play some music, and give ourselves time to re-group.”
She expects her students to give their very best every day, and she tells them, “Practice makes progress!”
Perfection is not expected and cannot be attained, she explains. But every student can make progress if they give their best and are persistent in their efforts. That, she says, is what education is – consistently improving.
The most important need in her classroom is for her students to show up every day ready to learn. She feels fortunate to have the support of an administrative staff at the school who makes sure she has what she needs in the classroom.
Isbell is the 2020-2021 Merryville Elementary Teacher of the Year.
She has been teaching at MHS for five years, and was a substitute teacher and Reading Intervention Aide at the school prior to that. Altogether, she has been at MHS for nine years.
“I began my career in education as a child care worker,” she said. “I loved working with the children, and that love led me to become a classroom teacher.”
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Western Governors University in Utah. She holds a Louisiana and Utah PreK-3 teaching certification.
She is a member of the Positive Behavior (PBIS) Committee at the school.
Her advice to new teachers is not to stress over the little things because every day is a new day. She says to teach hard but have fun and always be open to new ideas.
Her favorite thing about teaching is when students have a light bulb moment.
“I love to see their faces and that confident smile that comes across their face when they finally understand,” she said.
“I strive to let every one of my students know that I care about them, their education, and their well-being,” she concluded. “I teach because I have a desire to impact children’s lives in a positive way to make them feel like they are capable of anything they set their mind to do.”