December's Teacher of the Month
Whenever you think back to your favorite magic experience as a child, perhaps it involves the entrancing magician that seemingly appears out of nowhere and surprises you with the art of her skill. You look in one corner: the magician is there working her, well, magic. Turning your head in the opposite direction, she seems to fill your field of vision no matter where your eyes travel.
If movement of time and space were truly possible, Ms. Khalilah Watson would certainly be the magician who seems to be everywhere at once, working her relationship-magic in order to help students succeed and do their best. If there is an unruly student spending too much time in the hallway or having a difficult day, Watson seems to know the magic words to say that soothe, calm and get the student back on track. If there is a need to take over the math lesson, with her unique ability to break down difficult concepts, Ms. Watson teaches away, using her ability to engage the students, and more impressively help them enjoy the learning that is taking place. In fact, in her moments of teaching, the students are highly engaged and respect her authority, listening to the content that she is presenting.
A member of the exceptional education department, Watson has spent three years of her time at Beach and two years teaching here, more specifically. In fact, she is a true Bulldog through and through, an alumni of Alfred Ely Beach High school. Leaving the dawghouse to complete her college degree, her undergraduate education was completed at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and she touts a Master’s degree from Armstrong State University.
In her spare time, Watson enjoys officiating basketball games, skating, and spending time with her family. This family includes a toddler son whom she adores. She loves enjoying close-knit, quality time with all of her family members. Just by observing her with her family, it is clear that she emphasizes relationships both inside and outside of school.
As a teacher, she excels in organization and relationship building with students. Perhaps that is why they are drawn to her wisdom and knowledge. Ms. Watson’s greatest magic is in helping students focus on their own behaviors and empowering them to see their abilities to solve them, giving them ownership for improvement. In terms of teaching, her strengths are organization and relationship building, but she does “struggle with watching so many students accept failure.” She reveals that to work your own magic in the classroom, “you have to meet students where they are and instill in them the tools that can propel them to go further and achieve more.”
Because getting to know students is at the heart of all she does, Ms. Watson reveals that she not only talks with them when given opportunities, but she also takes times to observe them so she understands what their needs may be even before they understand them on their own. Clearly, this gift of intuition is something that allows her to inspire students toward making themselves more mature and embracing their own decisions. And she believes that such relationships are the foundation students need in order to share their lives with other adults and teachers.
When asked why Ms. Watson is just so wonderful, her peers comment that she is one of the most hardworking and dedicated individuals they know, doing whatever is needed in order to help students excel. She does not allow students to fail and fall to their own demise; instead, she is proactive in making sure that they make the decisions that will benefit them in the future. Others comment that she is smart and reliable, helping them make sure their job is done with excellence as well. We are just thankful we have someone who can truly work some academic magic when we need it. Glance around; you may just learn from her tricks.
Inspired by her example, let’s challenge ourselves to choose one student who may be making choices for failure and show them the path to academic and personal redemption. And perhaps, under your breath, you’ll whisper Abracadabra! in Khalilah’s honor.
Congratulations to Khalilah Watson, our A.E. Beach Teacher of the Month for December! Thank you for going above and beyond to serve our students.