Whenever Macon County Director of Schools Shawn Carter visits Red Boiling Springs High School teacher Tamara Kirts’ room, he always thinks before knocking on her door.
“I know that she doesn’t like to be disturbed in class, not because she’s not doing something, but because she doesn’t like the interruption for her kids,” Carter said. “I’m a little intimidated going to (her) room, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s not for any other reason other than I know there is teaching going on from bell to bell in that classroom.”
Kirts was named the Macon County School District’s 2023 Teacher of the Year at last Thursday afternoon’s annual teacher appreciation day event, which is hosted by the Macon County Chamber of Commerce. She’s been a teacher for 27 years and has been at Red Boiling Springs High School for 25 of those years.
“I lived in this county, and I really wanted to be a part of this county and (be a part of) the education of our students,” Kirts said. “I really feel like you should be a part of the community in which you live. I don’t want to have to drive and be somewhere else (to teach). I want to be where I belong, and that’s Macon County.”
Originally, Kirts and her family moved to Macon County when her husband needed to relocate for a job.
“We just stayed, because we just love Macon County,” Kirts said. “We just love the people and the scenic beauty of this area.”
Kirts has spent her career teaching math.
“I just really like math,” Kirts said. “I just really think that its one of those things that you either love or hate, but I really like math. I really enjoy teaching it.”
When she was in college, Kirts didn’t start as a math teacher. She’d begun college by studying to be an accountant.
“I realized in the course of my studies that I was more suited to being a teacher,” Kirts said. “That’s what I really wanted to do.”
Kirts was surprised when the announcement was made that she had won the teacher of the year award.
“I felt very flattered and honored,” Kirts said. “I don’t feel as though I was more deserving than anybody else. I work with a lot of really good teachers that I felt were probably more deserving than I am.”
Carter was the one to present Kirts with the award during an afternoon in which all of the county’s teachers were celebrated for their efforts.
“To see Mrs. Kirts get it was wonderful,” Carter said. “She’s very deserving, both on a professional level and a personal level. She’s very strict. She’s very demanding with her expectations for her students, but that’s what makes her the teacher that she is. She doesn’t lower the bar. The kids have to make it to the bar. She’s always there to stay after school and to use her planning period to help kids that are struggling.”
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