Shallotte teacher uses love of weightlifting to motivate middle-schoolers

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Shallotte, NC (WWAY) — Walk down the halls of Shallotte Middle School and you may hear Joey Bullock’s hearty laugh.

A graduate of Wyoming State University, she’s been in education 17 years and this is her fifth year teaching sixth graders at the Brunswick County School.

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Someone nominated her for our WWAY and Wilmington Granite Teacher of the Week recognition.

“I’ve always loved kids and I knew that I wanted to do something with kids,” Bullock said. “At first, I was going to be a music teacher and I decided to teach elementary school.”

While teaching comes naturally for Bullock, the biggest challenge comes in trying to reach the needs of each student.

Principal Marie Laboy says one of Bullock’s strengths is that she comes from an elementary background and is very well-versed in helping kids learn to read at whatever level they may be.

“She has a [non-English speaking] student who just came to our school within the last couple of weeks, so she is also charged with bringing that child up in English in reading,” Laboy said. “The challenges are there everyday and she handles it beautifully.”

Outside of school, Bullock is particularly proud of her weightlifting accomplishments. Recently, she lifted an impressive 175 pounds.

“I was very proud of that and, of course, I came in to tell my students that I met that goal and I showed them the video of myself doing it,” Bullock said. “Another goal that I met that I have been working on for probably 10 years–to do 10 reps of 135 and I was able to get that the same night. So, I was very excited to share that with my students.”

By talking about her weightlifting goals with students, Bullock says it helps them understand how personal improvement involves reaching one’s goals and raising the bar to set higher goals.

“I want them to be their best selves and I want them to love reading,” she said. “So I show that everyday as I read to them and they read to me, and hopefully, we can work together to do better each day.”

Click here to submit a nomination for our WWAY and Wilmington Granite Teacher of the Week recognition.