SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Teaching brings Amy Kleva lots of joy but there’s one day in particular she looks forward to each year, the first day of school.
“Its that excitement of kids coming in and the brand newness,” she said. “Every single first day of school is my favorite.”
A teacher for 19 years, Kleva has taught at Southport Elementary School in Brunswick County for the last eight years. This year, she’s teaching fourth grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies to Academically or Intellectually Gifted, also known as AIG, students.
There are, of course, days that tug at her heart like the one day a student came to class devastated about a situation at home.
“He just came to me one morning in tears and just cried, and we hugged,” she said. “I just wanted to take him home with me and make sure he was loved every minute, and couldn’t and so you just have to send them on their way and just pray they’re going to come back the next morning.”
So what’s Kleva’s secret for keeping her AIG students engaged with the curriculum?
“I’m loud, animated and have a really good rapport with my kids,” and she added, “We use humor a lot.”
Having taught regular education students all her career, this school year posed a bit of a challenge for Kleva.
“To pick up the pace and keep them challenged has been a challenge for me because they are such firecrackers and they are such different thinkers,” she said. “It’s interesting to take a step back and let them do some of the thinking and I love when they challenge me with questions that I marked wrong and why they knew they were right.”
Because of Kleva’s ability to adjust to new challenges and engage her students daily, we selected her as WWAY and Mattress and Furniture Liquidators’ “Teacher of the Week.”
SES Principal Peg Bourne says Kleva is extremely conscientious and deserving of this praise.
“She cares very deeply about her students and it comes through every day in her teaching style,” Bourne said. “She’s really grown this year taking on the AIG chairperson [role] for our school.”
So how does Kleva feel about this recognition?
“I just feel so honored, we all deserve this all the time, I feel like I work with such great colleagues,” she said. “My administration is wonderfully supportive. I just think it’s just because of everybody else, that I’ve been nominated.”
Despite the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of teaching, Kleva knows she’s making an impact here with her students.
“I go home on my toughest days and I’ve left here in tears and I’ve left here frustrated and I go home and I pray about it, and I really know that there is nothing else on this planet I want to do,” she said.