By Alisha Thompson
It’s 2021 and Kim Linville, Davis Elementary third grade teacher, is ending her 21st year of teaching being given the title of Davis Elementary Teacher of the Year.
In the elementary, there’s a bell mounted on the wall near the front door. Students get the honor of ringing the bell when they accomplish a goal. Kim said she was caught off guard when she was asked to meet her students surrounding the bell last week. They were late returning to class and she wasn’t sure why. Her anxiety turned into gratitude as she was informed by Davis elementary principal Tammie Webb that it was her turn to ring the bell. She was teacher of the year. Surrounded by her students and third grade daughter, Dannie, Kim will end her 21st year in the classroom with the honor given to her by her coworkers and friends.
Kim knew she always wanted to be a teacher.
In elementary, she said she had a teacher that wasn’t the greatest and that year in school wasn’t the greatest for her.
“My reason for wanting to be a teacher is a little different. I had a teacher that was not the most inspirational when I was in elementary school. The year before her I had a really great teacher and the year after I had a really great experience. I really didn’t like that one year of school. It really stood out,” Kim explained. “I knew from when I was little bitty that’s what I wanted to be. The tag of the car she drove in high school said Teacher to Be.”
Thankful for a student teacher that took her under her wing and mentored her, she realized that she was better suited to teach older kids instead of the kindergartners she taught while in college.
After being hired in Edmond right out of college, her then boyfriend (now husband) Chance proposed. Life became a little more interesting when Chance, a science major, just out of college, was given an offer he couldn’t refuse. “We bought three funeral homes,” Kim explained.
So, from Edmond to Ringling, they went and to Kim’s surprise, after interviewing at different schools, she received a phone call asking if she wanted to teach at Ringling.
“I taught there for 8 years. I really loved it. It was really fun going from Edmond to Ringling. I learned kids are the same where ever you go and they need the same things. Whether it’s a big town or a small town,” Kim said.
Once their first child came along, they quickly realized how much of life Chance would miss due to work. Things had to chnage. Chance and Kim sold the funeral homes, got jobs and sold their house in record time. “We were looking at a place in between our families,” Kim explained. “His family is here. One day I told Chance I really like Davis. He said, I do, too. I just love driving through Main Street and I love the lake. Its a neat little town.”
One day Kim took off work to look for jobs. She drove to Davis, Sulphur and Washington hoping to interview with different schools. She stopped at Davis first to find all of the administrators in a meeting. She was asked to come back in an hour. She did and was ushered to the conference room to see her husband’s resume and photo out on the desk. They asked her if she’d like to interview when she asked about open jobs in the elementary. “They asked would you want to teach third grade? I love third grade,” Kim said with a smile. “They are like nobody wants to teach third grade because it’s testing year.”
She then informed the administrators they were looking at her husband’s resume and he was in later that day to interview. The rest is history, 12 years in the making. “When they interviewed me Jan Morton had just turned in her resignation. The only thing she left in the room was a Bible and paddle in the seat,” Linville said.
What is Kim’s greatest reward in teacher?
“When they get something, when they have their ‘Ah! Ha!’ moment. Some kids get it the way I teach it, some don’t,” Kim said . “I tell my kids with math, there’s one correct answer but there’s many way to get there. I’ll show them different ways and some get it in ways I never expected.”
Grades aren’t the most important thing in Kim’s class.
Kim explained her biggest challenges in teaching is wondering what happens when her kids leave the classroom “2020 was a challenge and I really hated it for those kids. We did all the January and February stuff for testing and then we were done,” she said. “After testing we can relax a little bit and have fun. That last two months you get to breathe. No goodbyes.”
Making her kids feel safe and loved is a priority for Kim. “It’s giving the kids 8 hours of love, safety and friendship. Really feeling like this is your safe place” said Kim. “When a lot of them go home, I don’t think we know what they are dealing with. I want their time they spend in my classroom that this is a good, fun, safe place.”
You have permission to mess up in Kim’s class. “It’s okay to mess up and make mistakes. This is their safe place to be and not worry so much about grades.” Kim said. “My first few years in teaching, I came home and told Chance that I might come home with an extra kid a lot. I just wanted them to all be okay.”
Kim is a Wolf now and teaching in Davis has been a wonderful experience. The amount of community and church support has been a blessing in the classroom and with her cheer squad.
“I love being a teacher at Davis for many reasons. We have amazing community support and I have a great principal that has created such a positive workplace. I absolutely love coming to school, my best friends are here.”
Speaking of her best friends . . . . many know that the third grade teachers are close but some would call them a family. Kim said they all bring so many different things to the table. “Jessica (Williams) is the artsy creative one, Charl (Lampkin) is the rule follower and stern one, Jerri (Martin) is fun and brings new energy.” Kim explained. “What do you bring? I think I bring positivity. I try to see the positive in everything and everybody.”
Kim is humbled by the Teacher of the Year honors. “I am honored to be chosen as Teacher of the Year. Davis Elementary has so many outstanding teachers and I am blessed to work with them each day.”
By Alisha Thompson