Young teacher hit her stride in first year at Ferriday Lower Elementary

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

Ashley Prunty ended her first year at Ferriday Lower Elementary with a celebration.

Tuesday was graduation for Prunty’s kindergarten class, but Prunty was finishing her first year in kindergarten as well.

It was a different challenge for Prunty in her first year than for most starting teachers. She only stayed in the classroom the first week of school before having to maternity leave. It was October before she returned to school and her 17 little ones.

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&uot;It felt like starting brand new again,&uot; she said. At that point, she was almost in tears.

But being almost in tears Tuesday meant something totally different &045;&045; time to say goodbye.

Prunty said she did not think she would be sad for her kindergarteners’ graduation Tuesday, but she was getting sad Monday afternoon.

&uot;A lot of times their smiles (brighten) your day,&uot; Prunty said.

Prunty, a Ferriday native, was glad to find a teaching job in her hometown.

She will be back at Ferriday Lower Elementary next year and can see her first students in the first-grade halls.

&uot;I’m really glad I found a place here,&uot; she said.

&uot;I have a lot more confidence in myself and my kids,&uot; Prunty said. &uot;I feel like I taught them a lot.&uot;

Prunty was so proud of her class and both her and their accomplishments during the school year. When they came into class, she said they were working on sight words. But now, some of the students can read and comprehend what they are reading.

&uot;They were really reading,&uot; she said. &uot;I taught them how to read.&uot;

The students, and parents, enjoyed her class, too.

&uot;She was like … fun,&uot; said 6-year-old student LeDresha Walker.

Tuesday, hugs came not only from her students but parents as well.

One mom told her, after graduation, &uot;We really loved you.&uot;

&uot;It’s so rewarding when the parents come up to you and say thank you,&uot; Prunty said.

The staff has been very supportive, Prunty said, especially the other teachers, who have given her many ideas for classroom management.

Team teacher Connie Whitley, just a few doors down the hall, said Prunty brought ideas and enthusiasm to the job, which was great to see.

&uot;We need that good attitude,&uot; Whitley said. And the good part about it is that Prunty will be back next year.

Prunty said her purpose is to be a positive influence in the lives of her students, not just to teach them their ABC’s and reading.

&uot;That’s why I went into teaching,&uot; Prunty said. &uot;This is a perfect place to do it.&uot;