‘Teacher of the Week’ brings poetry and other lessons to life for third graders

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Third graders in Madeira Billingsley’s class at Mary C. Williams Elementary School are learning about poems.

Elementary students enrolled in New Hanover County Schools have been back in class for full-time, in-person learning for a few weeks.

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“I am so, so thankful that everybody is back,” Billingsley said.

One of Billingsley’s colleagues submitted a ‘Teacher of the Week’ nomination which commended her for “going above and beyond every week to reach each individual student” and “always putting her students first.”

A graduate of Arizona State University, Billingsley is a veteran teacher with 15 years experience. She has spent the last 13 years at Mary C. Williams Elementary School.

Teaching during a pandemic has been quite a challenge for all teachers.

“We had to learn all new online, what it meant to be an online teacher, what it meant to have students on Zoom (meetings) instead of right in front of us,” she said. “It felt like every day was something new to learn as a teacher.”

Despite lots of changes in this academic year, Billingsley says one thing has never changed — her passion for teaching children.

“I have been given this amazing job in this amazing school with amazing teachers and they’re just my world,” she said. “When I step into that classroom, we are a family and we are our own little unit that work together and it just seems to be such a special time for all of us.”

In addition to keeping track of the 21 students in her class, this mother of two school-aged  children has recently completed the lengthy process of completing National Board Certification.

Billingsley credits her faith for helping her keep everything in balance.

“I am firmly grounded in my belief in Jesus Christ,” she said. “I can’t go a day without just waking up and thanking him for this day that I’ve been given to go to these children and then move from there.”

When you step inside Billingsley’s classroom, Principal Amy Oots says there’s a genuine sense of love and learning.

“Mrs. Billingsley is a life-long learner and she loves to learn new things,” Oots said. “She is a phenomenal teacher and I am so lucky to get to work with her each and every day.”

As the school year winds down, Billingsley hopes her students remember one thing as they advance to the fourth grade and beyond.

“I love them, maybe not a parent or grandparent love but I love them in a special way,” she said.

If you know an inspiring teacher like Madeira Billingsley, click here to nominate them for ‘Teacher of the Week.’ Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card thanks to our partner Down East Heating and Air Conditioning.