CRESTVIEW — One thing is certain: Tisha Melton knows she’s appreciated.
Parents and Bob Sikes Elementary School students on Wednesday surprised the kindergarten teacher with balloons, gifts and cupcakes. Additionally, they presented a plaque thanking her for her commitment to their children's education.
Classroom volunteer Wanda Wooten — who organized the event along with other parents, and has a granddaughter in Melton's class — said she appreciated the teacher’s efforts.
"She goes out of her way for these kids," Wooten said. "It's amazing what she does for these kids."
That means positive reinforcement, parents said.
"Students will come in and say, 'I can't do this' and she will tell them that they are wrong," Wooten said. "She will tell them that they are smart and they can do it."
Melton said her parental instincts assist in educating her students.
"I'm a mother. I teach them the way I want my children to be taught," Melton said. "It's not about the academics, it’s about how we treat each other."
Melton's impact as a teacher has even influenced one parent to become substitute teacher.
Jean Steele began volunteering in the class after her 6-year-old daughter, Allie, started kindergarten in Melton's class this year.
Steele previously had no notion for a career in education, but after seeing Melton's interaction with students, encouraging them to reach new heights, Steele started substituting at local schools in December.
"She gave me opportunities to work with the children," Steele said. "She would show me how to do things ... telling me that I was doing a great job and that I could do this."
Despite the parents’ surprise, Melton said her passion for teaching is just part of her job.
"This is what I am supposed to be doing," she said. "There really isn't one day when I don't look forward to coming here."
That’s due to fellow faculty members, too, she said.
"This is the best school and best grade level I have ever worked with," she said. "That also is a big part of my success: is that it's a team effort."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.