Aynor Middle School teacher Caitlyn Bledsoe was floored to hear the announcement that she had been named Teacher of the Year.
“I just remember [that] I kept saying in head, ‘There is no way that this is real life,’” Bledsoe said.
The Conway native teaches a number of classes, including seventh grade science, seventh grade video production and sixth grade robotics. She also recently began teaching math for all three middle school grades.
During morning assembly at the school that day, Bledsoe was responsible for leading the students in a moment of silence, the pledge and the school motto, and for providing daily announcements.
Principal Robbie Watkins told her right before the assembly began that he was going to also announce the Teacher of the Year.
“As I finished the announcements, I handed him the microphone and he gave his introduction of what he was presenting, then he announced the Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 was Caitlyn Bledsoe,” she said. “I was so in shock that I froze a little. I wasn’t sure how to respond.”
She said one of her broadcast students had to gesture for her to move toward Watkins to receive the flowers he had for her.
“The students and teachers around me had to remind me we still needed to end the assembly with our motto because I had completely forgotten from being so surprised,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in middle level education in mathematics and science, and completed her master’s degree in instructional technology at Coastal Carolina University.
She graduated in the month of December, and lo and behold, a position at the middle school opened up the following month.
Bledsoe said she loves to share her knowledge and passion for technology with her students and fellow colleagues.
“I enjoy adding my creative flare to a lesson to make it more entertaining for my students,” she said.
She also loves watching the students succeed and master new things.
“I love being able to see the ‘Aha!’ moments when it finally clicks for a student. It’s almost as if you can see the lightbulb turn on,” she said.
When she’s not at school, she enjoys spending her free time cheering on her Carolina Gamecocks, spending time with her friends and kayaking.
While she loves her job, she credits her students and fellow AMS staff for her success.
“If I had to choose my favorite part of teaching, it would have to be my school, and I’m not just referring to the brick building I call home nine to 10 months out of the year,” Bledsoe said. “It’s the students, the teachers and staff, the administration, the parents and the community that make my school whole. Without each and every one of them, I would not be where I am today and I would not be the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year.”
Watkins said Bledsoe is an asset to the AMS staff, and her students love her.
“She uses her technology skills to help students and staff on a daily basis,” Watkins said. “Caitlyn is always trying to find ways to help her students learn the content and skills necessary in her class and their other classes, too. She is truly a breath of sunshine.”