TOW Hatcher

Noel Hatcher is a third-grade teacher at Martin Luther King Elementary in Urbana.

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Meet NOEL HATCHER, who takes her work — teaching third grade at Urbana’s Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary — seriously.

‘It is such an honor to be entrusted with someone’s children,’ says the board-game enthusiast, our seventh Teacher of the Week.

I became a teacher ... after my own children were in school and I spent time in their classrooms. I began to really understand what happens in the classroom. The more I saw, the more I felt I had something to offer. I also knew that I wanted to get involved at the elementary level because I felt that I could have the most impact if I (spent) as much time as possible with young students.

I value the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and parents. I love trying to engage, educate, and entertain, all while balancing my roles as classroom leader, advocate and mother hen.

My most fulfilling moment on the job comes in ... those unexpected moments when the students connect with the material and really make it their own. In those situations, the classroom comes alive.

One day, I was teaching a writing lesson when one of my reluctant writers shared his work with me. His piece was so funny that I laughed out loud. He was encouraged to begin reading his work out loud and soon, the whole class was rolling in laughter. This student discovered a power that he didn’t know he had. Moments like that are the best part of teaching.

I find my work important because ... there is no greater responsibility than to support children as they develop their sense of self. Each child ... has hope for themselves. I believe it is my job to see and nurture that hope and to help develop each child’s individuality, self-awareness and self-confidence.

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