Standout Knox County middle school teacher inspires students

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Nearly 2,000 educators packed the Tennessee Theatre on November 1 for the annual “Reach Them to Teach Them” event. It’s a night to inspire, appreciate and challenge hardworking teachers, organized by an incredibly strong teacher: Amy Crawford of West Valley Middle School in Knox County.

Crawford received a well-deserved standing ovation when presented with the WATE 6 On Your Side Hero Award.

Previous story: Knoxville group hopes to inspire teachers

“When they all just spontaneously jumped up to start cheering and clapping for her, it touched us all,” said Knox County Interim Superintendent Buzz Thomas.

In her classroom, she's known as "Coach Crawford" and her classroom is the "locker room."
In her classroom, she’s known as “Coach Crawford” and her classroom is the “locker room.”

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In her classroom, she’s known as “Coach Crawford” and her classroom is the “locker room.” Crawford shared her theory behind the sports theme.

“Coach Crawford actually came from my experience teaching at Sarah Moore Greene in the inner city. I had students that really looked at athletes as their role models and as their heroes. I thought, ‘How can I tap into that-the idea that we come together as a team to accomplish a goal?’ It’s not an individual working for himself or herself, it’s a team thing. You need to listen to the coach.”

Crawford changes hats for different lessons. She also dresses up as “Officer Crawford with the Grammar Police.”

“Our mission is to serve and correct,” she said with a laugh.

Crawford changes hats for different lessons. She also dresses up as "Officer Crawford with the Grammar Police."
Crawford changes hats for different lessons. She also dresses up as “Officer Crawford with the Grammar Police.”

Her curriculum also includes character. All around the classroom are empowering messages, including a quote by actress Meryl Streep: “We are the choices we make.”

“Amy not only teaches character well. She embodies good character,” said Thomas.

“I’m so grateful, ” Crawford says, “and so honored that people value the work that we do through Reach Them to Teach Them and the work I do in the classroom. That’s very validating and rewarding and I’m so grateful.”

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