January 2022 Winner - Kayla Moore:(Enterprise Elementary)


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Meridian Star Article

ENTERPRISE — Enterprise Elementary School fourth grade teacher Kayla Moore didn't like math when she was in school.

Preferring writing and literature, Moore shunned math until ninth grade, when her teacher showed that her math is more than just the numbers.

Math is problem solving. It's resiliency. While the numbers may change and the equations look different, an understanding of math is a tool that helps people from all walks of life.

Now, the January 2022 Golden Apple winner uses her former aversion to numerical problems to connect with her students and show them that their dreams are well within reach.

"I love teaching kids math because I get being the kid that doesn't like math," she said. "So when my kids do have that 'a-ha' moment, it gives me reassurance that I've given them a tool where they can be successful later in life."

But Moore sees her job as more than making sure her students perform well on their tests. Through math, she said, she tries to inspire her students and build in them the resiliency they'll need to reach their goals.

"The most important thing that I want to teach my kids is that they can do it," she said. "They can be successful regardless of their circumstances, regardless of the mistakes they make. I think my overall goal is a growth mindset. I want to teach my kids it's not if you make a mistake but when, and what's more important than the actual mistake is learning from it."

Moore tests her students' knowledge in the classroom Wednesday.

In life, mistakes will happen, and problems will come up, Moore said. It's unavoidable. When those mistakes happen, when a problem needs to be solved, she wants her students to have the constitution to get back up and try again.

"I want to teach my kids that if you want it, go for it," she said. "And you're gonna fail, you're gonna mess up, but let's get back up and let's try again. That's what I want my kids to realize and take with them out into the workforce."

Being named the Golden Apple winner for January was a huge honor, Moore said. More than that, it was validating.

"Just to be recognized at all or even nominated is amazing," she said. "It gives me motivation. I think teaching is a lot like parenting. Sometimes you're just like, ‘I hope I'm doing this right. I hope I'm getting this right.' It's just kind of an affirmation that I'm doing a little bit right. It's an amazing feeling."

As a teacher, she said she wanted to have an impact on her students and help them become the best versions of themselves. Receiving the Golden Apple is proof her efforts aren't in vain.

"It just means the world," she said.