In the run-up to the announcement of BCSD's 2022-2023' Teacher of the Year, we spoke to last year's winners about their commitment to teaching and what makes Baldwin School District stand out. This blog series highlights those incredible teachers and what they do to make a difference.
For Seticia Smith, math and basketball were life. Growing up in Appling County High School down in Baxley Georgia, she helped pull her teammates through their math courses and found herself fascinated by the way that people learned. Why didn’t math come as easily to others as it did for her? She became infatuated with understanding the intricacies of the ways in which people thought, and that infatuation brought her to Georgia College & State University's psychology and sociology program where she earned her degree in 2010.
“I guess God just steered me back into teaching,” Smith said, “I ended up going back to school, going back to education, and getting my education degree.” Smith graduated a second time in 2012 with a Masters in Education, then again in 2016 with a specialist degree in leadership. She was already teaching at Oak Hill Middle School full time. In 2021, Seticia Smith earned Baldwin County’s Teacher of the Year award for her stalwart determination in making certain that all of her students received the attention they needed to succeed.
Smith's teaching principles are rooted in her background in psychology and sociology, using different strategies to reach and connect with different students. “In my classroom,” Smith said, “we do so many different things. I mean, I’m teaching with music; I’m teaching with dancing; I’m teaching with writing; I’m teaching with verbal communication.” By presenting multiple methods of learning to each student, the student’s often learn in ways that surprise and fascinate their teacher.
She recalls a time when she was having trouble reaching a particular student with integers, but when another student explained it to them using money, and what it meant to have a negative balance, she was amazed at how everything came together for them. “They come up with their own ideas,” Smith said, “Kids have these wild ideas, and I’m just amazed, as I watch them teach each other, how they learn those concepts.”