‘Being a teacher is an honor’ — Loyd Star’s Wallace is an A+mazing Teacher

Published 5:00 pm Monday, April 18, 2022

March’s A+mazing Teacher is Carla Wallace, who can’t remember not wanting to be a teacher. “I never went through the phase of ‘what do I want to be when I grow up?’” she said. 

“My mom often tells the story of how when I was little, I never played with my baby dolls like normal kids. I always lined them up and taught them.  

“Therefore, becoming a teacher was something I wanted to do from the time I was a little girl — even before I was of school age, and even before I knew what teachers made.  Money definitely never played a part in my career choice.”  

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This is Wallace’s 26th year of teaching. 

“During my 26 years of teaching, I spent 18 years teaching kindergarten, which was my dream grade,” she said. “Leaving kindergarten was a hard choice, but I was getting older and I knew I needed a change.  

“I have also taught first grade, fourth grade science and social studies, third grade-math and I even spent a year working in the special education department.”

Currently, Wallace is the Title I teacher and the TST chair at Loyd Star School.   

It’s not hard for Wallace to describe what makes her job so valuable to her.

“It’s the children,” she said firmly. “They are the reason that I am here, and the reason I can’t leave just yet. I want to have a positive, inspiring impact on children’s lives, and I want every child that I have ever taught to know how much they mean to me.  

“ I love working with kids — no day is the same. I love interacting with my students, and I love helping them see the connection between what they are learning and their lives.”

The person who inspired her the most was “Mima,” also known as Mrs. Dott Cannon. 

“She was always my biggest supporter when it came to my education,” Wallace said. “From getting my undergraduate degree, to getting my master’s degree, and even my National Board certification, my Mima was always there to cheer me on. Her positive words and her attitude about life always gave me the drive I needed to make it through anything.  

“My Mima is also the person I admire the most. Sadly, we lost her a couple weeks shy of [her] turning 95 in September 2020. She was absolutely the most amazing woman I ever met. 

“Not only did she graduate from Yale with a nursing degree, [but[] she was also the most humble and kind person I knew. I can not think of a time when I ever heard her say anything negative.  

“She always looked for the positive. The qualities my Mima instilled in me inspired me to always be the best teacher I can be.”    

The ramifications from the global pandemic still resonates with Wallace. “We had to get use to some of our students being taught at school, while others were considered at-home learners.” she said. “We had to get used to kids being quarantined, and we had to make sure we helped them stay on track while they were at home.  

“Google Classroom became a very essential tool in my teaching. Keeping children six feet apart was a challenge in itself, not to mention the distraction of the mask. Desks had to be spread apart in the classroom, and we could not do small groups, which was the way I was use to teaching.  

“I had to go back to the traditional way of standing in front of the classroom and teaching everyone at once. Not having all of your students most all of the time, and being scared you were not meeting their educational needs, was a very stressful time. 

“While the students adapted to all of the changes, it was very stressful on them as well.”

Wallace said she felt honored to be nominated for her teaching skills. “It lets me know that others see the love that I have for this profession,” she said. “I continue to do what I do because of the students. I could have retired last year, but when it came down to it, I just could not walk away. 

“Loyd Star has been my home for 24 of my 26 years of teaching. I work with some of the most amazing people in the educational field, and the kids are the best. They are truly what it is all about. 

“I do not pay much attention to politics, and I feel like it is very important to keep parents involved in their child’s educational journey. The bridge between school and home is very important. And [since] I have made it past the 25 years that was required to retire, I now plan on staying as long as I continue to enjoy what I do.

“Being a teacher is an honor, and something I truly feel God led me to do,” she added. “I cannot imagine doing anything else but this.”

The Daily Leader celebrates teachers all year long through nominations from the public for the A+mazing Teachers 2022. Nominations were open through Feb. 17 and voting occurred Feb. 18-28. The teacher with the most votes receives a $50 gift card.