January 2023 Teacher of the Month: Wicksburg’s Natalie Buckles

See how Natalie Buckles is preparing her kindergarteners for the future.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 8:09 AM CST
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WICKSBURG, Ala. (WTVY) - Becoming a teacher has been a natural transition for Natalie Buckles.

“It’s definitely different, but I enjoy it,” said Buckles. :I honestly expected it to be a lot harder with it being kindergarten and them being so young and a lot of them not being in school before, but this school is amazing.”

In her first year, the Wicksburg teacher spends her day teaching her kindergarteners all the essentials.

“We are trying to learn to read by the end of the year. That is one of our goals,” said Buckles. “We are starting out with letters. We have a new reading curriculum this year so the letters are all mixed up instead of learning them in alphabetical order. It’s kind of different, but that’s what we are starting with. We are working on sight words. We’re doing a competition right now. 100 sight words by the end of the year. Even though they are only five and six, we are still pressing them, trying to get them to learn as much as they can by the end of the year.”

Buckles says her love for teaching began at early age. Attributing her school success to her previous instructors.

“I actually moved states in kindergarten so I had a totally different uproot and moving and I was terrified,” said Buckles. “Both of my kindergarten teachers were so welcoming and caring. I knew they wanted me to be there and wanted me to learn.”

She wants to bring that same love and passion to her students.

“As a child, I was super reserved, and I didn’t want to go to school,” said Buckles. “My kindergarten teacher was so caring. I felt so safe in her classroom, and I wanted to be able to be that for somebody else.”

She’s has brought her own unique twist to begin every day with her class and it has really caught on.

“One thing we do is affirmations in the morning,” said Buckles. “It’s a YouTube video and it has these little characters on there and has dance moves. You’ll hear them during the day saying “I’m important” or “I’m smart”. It’s kind of neat to hear them out the day saying it too.”

No doubt with miss buckles at the helm, these kids have a bright future.

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