Creativity in classrooms earns woman top honor
Published: May 22, 2007 | 6258th good news item since 2003
You never know what to expect when you walk into Keitt Easterling’s classroom: whether it be a child in a chicken hat or students sitting around a table designing a board game about global warming.
It’s her constant creativity, energy and enthusiasm that administrators say earned Easterling the district’s Teacher of the Year award Thursday.
Easterling teaches students in the district’s gifted-and-talented program at Sampit Elementary and Plantersville Elementary Schools.
“Wow! Thank you so much. This is such an honor. I’m speechless, really,” gushed Easterling to a crowd of over 100 teachers, principals and school officials.
Easterling was chosen out of 17 school-wide teachers of the year, and five district finalists, by a special interview committee.
Sampit Elementary School Principal Maudest Rhue-Scott said, “I’m so excited. She is the most deserving. She is a super, fantastic teacher.
“She is very challenging. She has very high expectations in her lessons. She is able to incorporate all of these things into one experience.”
During the ceremony, attendees were able to see Easterling in action. A video of a recent lesson plan aired in the background as the five finalists for the award were named.
On screen, fourth-grade students wearing hamburger and chicken hats burst onto the classroom’s set, taping a commercial for a restaurant they named “The Meating Place.”
“Students had written and created their own commercial to sell a product using props I had given them,” Easterling said.
“It incorporates creative design, writing, communication and earlier in the year we had worked on public speaking,” she said.
For Easterling, teaching runs in the family.
Her mother was a teacher, along with her sister.
Another sister, Macon Warren, is a guidance counselor at Carvers Bay High School.
“It’s never dull with her,” Warren said. “She’s always needed an audience and needed to perform ever since I’ve known her.
“She’s always coming up with these crazy, creative ideas. Everything is very hands-on to make it come alive for the students.”
As the Georgetown County Teacher of the Year, Easterling will compete for S.C. Teacher of the Year for 2007-2008.
As the district’s top teacher, Easterling won a Dell computer, $2,000 from the school district and other monetary awards from the district’s corporate sponsors. Next year, Easterling will help to lead the district’s monthly teacher forums and mentor new teachers.