Teacher of the Month: Thomas Smith, Prattville High School

Updated TOM RRP Feb ()
Huntington RRP DigitalFull Jan

Prattville High School has a teacher who touches the lives of many students daily. Thomas Smith shares that Prattville marked a significant shift, representing his first venture into a “traditional” high school environment. He grew up in Montgomery, attended a magnet school, and was used to a different education setting, one without the typical trappings of high school life, like football and pep rallies. After graduating from Auburn University of Montgomery in 2018 with a bachelor’s in Secondary Education and Social Studies, he used his credentials to make an impact at Prattville High School.

Smith shares, “Anyone who is a new teacher knows this fact: you don’t usually get to choose what you teach.” Luckily, what he wanted and what the school needed him to teach coincided with the perfect plan. Thomas developed a passion for teaching government and economics because he found discussing contemporary issues was simplistic. The subject allows him to cover what is going on in the world around his students. Furthermore, it is a required class for seniors. He wanted to be the last stop before they ventured out into the real world. “There’s something special about watching my students transition from high school students to young adults within a year.

As a teacher, Thomas creates teaching goals each year and commits to being dedicated to his students. First, his goal is to build relationships. Building relationships is the fun part but the most crucial. He’s interested in knowing their nicknames, interests, talents, etc. He wants them to realize that he genuinely cares. Second, he likes to build knowledge.

It happens daily in his classroom. It could be as simple as a lecture or memorizing vocabulary words or as involved as an analytical reading assignment. The third is to build understanding. Smith says this is the most challenging as he must spark student’s curiosity and encourage them to ask questions, seek answers, and explore topics independently.

Mr. Smith has yet to think about what he will do after retirement in detail, but he hopes to own a coffee shop or perhaps be in a heavy metal band.

Thomas Smith has been married to Ashton Smith for five years, and they have three cats and one dog.


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