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McKenzie continues family tradition

Story by Nicole Burns

When asked what would make someone want to get up early every day and go to school, fifth grade Brewton Middle School math teacher, Amanda McKenzie, laughed and said, “a big cup of coffee always helps.”

For the Brewton native, teaching isn’t only a passion; it’s also an inheritance. Her mother, Dianne McKenzie, taught for more than 32 years at Brewton Elementary School.

McKenzie

McKenzie

“Just knowing that I will get to teach what I love to teach to some really awesome kids at a great school is a huge motivator to get up every morning,” said McKenzie.

Recently voted Brewton Standard’s Best of the Best is only a small feather in this veteran teacher’s cap as this marks her 19th year as a teacher, her second at BMS teaching previously at Neal Elementary and Middle Schools.

“Teaching is not an easy career, and sometimes it takes a really hard day to make you appreciate the gift you’ve been given of teaching children,” said McKenzie.

She gains perspective from hard days, such as Sept. 11 and the Sandy Hook school shooting, when she and her students watched current events spill over into the classroom. Students came to class with more questions about their safety than about math.

“I simply told them, “I love you very much, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep you safe. You are important to me and I would rather be hurt myself than let something bad happen to you.

“The one thing I want every student I’ve ever taught to know is that I will always support them and love them,” said McKenzie. “I love going to sports and community events where I know I’ll see my former and present students.”

McKenzie said she reads the following passage from the book, Hugs for Teachers by Caron Loveless and Martha McKee each day for inspiration.

“With a mind like yours, you could have landed almost any kind of job you wanted. The field was wide open. Your options seemed endless. But at the end of the day, you counted the cost, assessed your talents, and set your feet on the path of your heart. Even now, on the hardest days, you’re still glad you traveled down this road.”