Ashley Phillips, a teacher a Camelot Academy, an alternative school in Escambia County was named teacher of the Year. Phillips, who has been teaching four years, says she loves her job. “Camelot is an alternative school where kids come when they no longer can attend public school,” she began. “They are there for a certain amount of time on probation. We are there and in many instances act on a personal level acting as their guidance counselors. It’s pleasurable for me in actually knowing that I am helping somebody being it that I’m giving advice or just telling them great job; that may be the only ‘great job’ they ever hear.”
Phillips is also working on her Masters Degree in curriculum instruction. “My main goal is to be an advocate for teachers,” she said. To be able to go out and teach teachers to be effective by tying the knowledge of subject level with the children where they can understand.
Phillips believes that often times teachers miss the mark because children arrive hard hearted because of situations at home or in their environment. “We must understand that these are children and that they are human beings also. For me, I do take it personal. I’ve never taught in a public school, but at Camelot, we do have the opportunity to “get back with the student.” By that, we have the opportunity to take little Johnny aside and address the reason why he is acting out and discuss it. Sometimes it’s just that dad did not pick up little Johnny as he was supposed to and little Johnny is upset about it. At that point we can put a bandage on it and move on. But the important thing is that Johnny knows somebody is listening-somebody cares.
“As an instructor you have to learn to engage the student creatively as well as organizationally. If we can find a way to tie both sides in then the material taught will stick with the student’s memory longer.
Although they are not a part of the Escambia County School system, Camelot Academy accepts students from all Escambia County Schools.