‘Teacher of the Week’ infuses punk rock flair to engage third-graders

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — When third-grader students at Bolivia Elementary School arrived in class recently they got quite a surprise.

Teacher Emily Tate was dressed up with punk rock-style hair, a hot pink tutu and leggings. She didn’t answer to Ms. Tate, but instead asked students to address her as “Roxie Star.”

Months ago, when students in Brunswick County Schools were not allowed to attend in-person classes due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Tate introduced a number of characters like Roxie Star to her students during remote learning.

“I’ve been a clown, an old lady and a professor,” she said.

A graduate of Brunswick Early College High School and UNCW, Tate started her teaching career four years ago when she was 20 years old. She says teaching has always been her passion.

“It started when I was super young with wanting to teach my stuffed animals, teach the dolls in my bedroom and just be like my mom,” she said.

In the ‘Teacher of the Week’ nomination we received, a parent told us that Tate “has been an amazing blessing to my daughter, sparking an interest in school despite the circumstances.”

Tate says teachers have to up their game to keep student interest high.

“We also need to be actors and actresses, and really perform for them,” she said. “You’re making learning about fractions not just ‘Oh, we’re learning about fractions,’ its ‘We are learning about fractions and how awesome that is and how lucky we are to learn that together!'”

Tate is passionate about teaching and looking for new and creative ways to engage her students.

“I love being with these kids, I love doing everything I can for them,” she said. “I think it just comes very naturally, but by the end of the day, I’m exhausted.”

Principal Beverly Eury says Tate is a phenomenal teacher. She says Tate is not only kind and confident, she also understands how to interpret data to find ways to drive student success.

“Not just to look and say – ‘Oh, they didn’t do well,’ but to say ‘Here’s what they missed, here’s where I can do better as the teacher’ and then pushing each child forward,” Eury said. “You don’t see many [teachers] that enter the career with the confidence she has.”

Eury also adds that Tate’s innovative teaching style results in remarkable growth academically from her students every day.

Click here to nominate a someone you know for ‘Teacher of the Week.’ Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card.

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