Misty Davis named Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year for middle grades
Indian Trail science and social studies instructor Misty Davis knew she wanted to be a teacher, but her career path took her elsewhere. However, it wasn’t long before her heart brought her back to the classroom, which appears to be where she belongs.
Davis was named one of three winners of the Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year award - along with Jackie Smith (grades 9-12) and Jamie Mains Milhorn (grades K-4). Davis, who has spent all six of her years teaching at Indian Trail, said even after her career path took her elsewhere, there is no place she would rather be.
“For me teaching is not a job,” Davis said through a smile. “It’s fun and it’s a puzzle or a challenge to create the most engaging lesson I can, in order to promote an ongoing love of learning in students.”
Davis has accepted that challenge – she even has a sign in her room that says “Challenge Accepted” – and tries to find the best way to engage each of her students.
“We view challenges and problems as opportunities to expand our creative thinking and discover a solution,” Davis said.
Sometimes those solutions are easy to find, other times they aren’t. But Davis said that she loves the unique days and isn’t always the one doing all the teaching.
“My students teach me something every single day,” Davis said.
Davis danced around career paths that started in communications and ended as a stay at home mom, before becoming a teacher. But that time allowed her to get involved with her daughter’s schooling through PTA and volunteer work. After that stint, she knew her next job would be as a teacher.
“I guess I had to be in school so much, with my daughter and doing PTA, my goal was to make school the best possible experience for her and her friends. I was there so much that I fell in love with the classroom and being around the kids,” Davis said. “It’s fun being around the kids and teaching them new things.”
The mix of teaching science and social studies at the school is also exciting, especially since 5th-graders take their first extensive dive into US History during their time at Indian Trail.
“I love them both, because one has a lot of hands-on investigation, as far as science goes. And then in social studies, it has a lot of investigations and cause and effect information,” Davis said.
She said the best feeling is seeing the moments when kids light up with excitement from something new they have learned.
“There is always something exciting to learn, even in the most mundane topic, that you may not have any interest in,” Davis said. “There are a lot of teaching opportunities in content that they haven’t been exposed to yet. It’s just really exciting to see them get that ‘a-ha’ moment and seeing them excited about learning.”