BEAUMONT, MISS(WDAM) - South Perry Elementary kindergarten teacher Maria James recently received the Mississippi Rural Teacher of the Year award for her hard work and dedication to her students.
“My faith in God and accepting the support from my colleagues and family, that’s what’s really kept me going and helps me get through the day,” James said.
The award is sponsored through PREPS, The Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools.
James explained the process of winning the award.
“The school is categorized by different congressional districts,” James said. “For me, it was Congressional District 4, and whoever participates in this program, each school district has to pick a teacher. And then you compete against each other.”
The pandemic continues to put a strain on many teachers throughout the state.
James explains some of the challenges she had to face.
“For me, it was the social distancing,” James said. “Not being able to hug my kindergarten babies. We had to think outside of the box for sure, altering days, virtual teaching and helping parents teach their kids at home.”
James offered encouragement to all teachers who continue to face the pandemic.
“You’re not alone,” James said. “Don’t hesitate to reach out for help, and my biggest thing is [the] Serenity Prayer, which is ‘God, grant me the serenity accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.’”
She was also awarded teacher of the year for South Perry Elementary School and the Perry County School District.