100,000+ classroom teachers in Georgia’s public schools are on the front lines
of education. They’re nurturing dreams and showing children what’s possible.
And they’re making sure students have the tools they need to make those dreams
Spotlights, a recurring feature from the Georgia Department of Education,
introduces you to those teachers. This time, meet J. Nichelle Wimbush, a
five-year educator currently teaching at Troup County Comprehensive High
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
wish that I could say that my childhood dream job was to be a teacher, but that
is simply not true. I fell in love with teaching the first day of my first year
as an educator at Troup High School. I have always known that I wanted to have
a mentoring relationship with high school age children; so, when I decided not
to go to medical school after college, teaching was the only logical
alternative career choice, and I must say it was definitely the best decision
of my life. There is no amount of money that will ever be able to pull me away
from teaching my students. I love them as if they were my own children. When I
come to work every day and my first student smiles at me, it gives me a sense of
peace and purpose; purpose that I am positive I would never receive through any
other career path.
How do you
motivate students when they’re struggling with their schoolwork?
I am a firm
believer that strong student- teacher relationships are essential for the
success of both the student and the teacher. Building a level of trust with my
students that creates a “safe zone” in my class allows me to hold conferences
with each student in order to discover the root causes of their struggles. The
results of those conferences gives me the ability to build individualized
remediation plans that incorporate both differentiation and scaffolding to help
the student overcome their academic struggles. In addition to the
remediation plan, the student and I create a list of realistic measurable goals
that I reward them for accomplishing. Student rewards can be something as small
as a receiving recognition for all to hear or as big as lunch with Ms. Wimbush
from a favorite restaurant.
last moment that caused you to stop to remember why you love teaching?
As a teacher,
I am of the belief that I have been given the world and, in turn, it is my job
to give each of my students the gift that has been given to me. To some, that
may sound crazy because every day I interact with more than one-hundred twenty
teenagers. In my eyes, what I do each day is a true blessing.
slightly challenging for me to point out the last time I remembered why I loved
teaching because I have so many wonderful moments with all of my students every
day. However, if I had to choose one, it would be the moment my students
received their first benchmark scores. The look in their eyes gave me so much
gratification. It was a look of validation and trust. It was a look that
said “I did it!”, “I understand!”, and “I CAN do this!” Biology is a
difficult class, and I have very high expectations for my students. Therefore,
when they experience their first big triumph, it makes all of the late nights,
tutoring sessions, and gray hairs worth it. It reminds me that my career choice
aligns perfectly with my purpose, and there is nothing else in this world I
would rather do!
advice would you give to a student considering teaching as a profession?
not about getting summer’s off or the week long spring break or the two week
break during the Christmas holidays. Teaching is calling and not a career
choice. As an educator, you have an opportunity to change the world every
single day of your life by investing in tomorrow’s leaders. If you consider
becoming a teacher for any other reason than the children, I urge you to
reconsider your career path. Remember, teaching is for those who are committed
to developing ALL children into the world’s leaders and molding young minds
into lifelong learners.
nominate an exceptional Georgia educator for GaDOE Teacher Spotlights? Email
Meghan Frick at firstname.lastname@example.org.