Thanks to Teachers Catherine Messer

Catherine Messer is a first year teacher, teaching third grade at Leicester Elementary School. She says teaching is in her blood. Her mother is a kindergarten teacher in Haywood County. "I was pretty much bred to be a teacher," laughs Messer. The young Appalachian State grad says giving her students plenty of time to play is part of her teaching method, adding play often leads to the best learning. "It's hands-on, so they're not just reading something from a textbook or looking at it on paper. They're actually seeing 'wow,' this is real life." says Messer.

Part of that 'play' includes having Chewy, a tarantula in the classroom. "This is an actual science lesson they get every single day, and, they don't even know it," says Messer. "He eats crickets," says student Malakai. "Usually all tarantulas do." Catherine Messer also has her students write their own stories, by looking at pictures in books and writing what they see. The young teacher is a hit with some of her students. "Ms. Messer, she teaches me many interesting and fascinating things," says Malakai. "You can just raise your hand, and she will come and she will actually show how to do it, but she won't do it for you," says student Ryley.

Catherine Messer says her first year on the job has taught her plenty. "The diversity in the classroom, and realizing all the kids ar different," she says. Messer encourages any young person with a passion for teaching to pursue the career. "This job is not about me. It's about coming here every day and giving it my all to truly make a difference."