‘Teacher of the Week’ recognized for giving warm welcome to students

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WINNABOW, NC (NC) — From temperature checks to wearing masks, the pandemic has caused public schools across the Cape Fear to implement safety protocols aimed at protecting students and staff from the Coronavirus. 

At Town Creek Elementary School in Winnabow, each student arriving in the carpool line or by bus receives a temperature check before entering the building.

In the carpool line, a number of teachers wait at their assigned posts to greet students upon arrival. One of those teachers is Coty Soots who teaches physical education. 

The person who nominated Soots for WWAY’s ‘Teacher of the Week’ said she makes it a point to address each student by name and enthusiastically welcomes them every morning. 

On the day we visited the K-5 school, Soots thought we were there to do a story about the school’s coronavirus procedures until we told her the real reason.   

“I was overwhelmed with emotion because I’m just little ‘ole me,” Soots said. “I never imagined it would happen to a PE resource teacher.”

A graduate of East Carolina University, Soots has taught PE for seven years and the last four at Town Creek.

Back in the gym, she skips with students and tosses small pieces of cloth in the air helping students with their hand/eye coordination skills. She is passionate about helping her students understand the importance of a daily exercise regime.  

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What really caught our attention is how she warmly greets students and helps them feel more comfortable at school the moment their feet hits the sidewalk.

In the nomination WWAY received, a parent wrote, “She is a huge part of a positive school environment for my daughter who absolutely adores her as a PE teacher and she is a strong female role model.”

“She is the epitome of what a teacher should be,” said Tracy Cotton who is the principal of Town Creek Elementary School. “She goes above and beyond, she loves her kids, she loves her job and we are so fortunate to have her here.”

From stickers on the hallway floors reminding students about social distancing, to daily temperature checks before entering school, the pandemic has created rules for educators to implement to ensure everyone’s safety.

“We can’t control the wind, all we can do is adjust our sails,” Cotton said. “Even though we feel we are adjusting the sails everyday, it’s ok because we know we’re in the same boat together.” 

As our Teacher of the Week winner, Soots received a $100 Staples gift card. 

“I’m definitely going to give this back to the kids because they’re the whole reason why I got this award and this appreciation,” she said. “So I’m going to definitely give that back to the kids and I appreciate it very much. 

While most of us feel we’ve been running to avoid COVID-19 the last several months, knowing there’s a friendly face behind the mask that greets these students each morning is reassuring to them and their parents.

If you would like nominate an exceptional teacher who’s going above and beyond for their students, fill out our nomination form. Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card.