Katy Walls: November Teacher of the Month

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Katy Walls: November Teacher of the Month

Katy Walls, November Teacher of the Month

Katy Walls, November Teacher of the Month

Tanner Schmuck

Katy Walls, November Teacher of the Month

Tanner Schmuck

Tanner Schmuck

Katy Walls, November Teacher of the Month

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There are a lot of statistics about the average teacher only staying in education five or fewer years.  So when a teacher reaches ten years of service, it is a pretty good sign that they’ve found teaching to be a worthwhile career.  They’ve made it through those first three years (notably the most difficult time in a teaching career); they’ve probably worked in a couple different schools and have found a district that feels like home; they’ve settled in for the long haul.


The November Teacher of the Month is at that peak.  She’s come home (literally), and is ready to settle in.


Katy Walls, a 2004 Poteau HS graduate, received her B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas.  She followed that immediately with a Master of Arts in Teaching from U of A as well.


She started her career in Byng, Oklahoma, teaching freshman English and coaching softball for one year.  She then moved to Fort Smith to teach freshman and sophomore English and junior and senior communications for one year.  In 2011 she started at PKMS, teaching 7th grade English.  Now in her tenth year of teaching, she is loving being back with freshmen at PHS.

Tanner Schmuck
Mrs. Walls works with her class, helping them master the elements of literature.

Like so many teachers, Katy’s love of education began at a young age and is due in part to her parents.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher,” Walls said via e-mail.  “Both of my parents were teachers, so I grew up around educators.  I can remember riding the bus to my mom at Poteau High School from the elementary school every afternoon and hanging out at the middle school with my dad during parent/teacher conferences.”


Mrs. Walls is married to her high school sweetheart.  They have been together 18 years; 9 of which have been in marriage.  They have two children, Ryan, who is six, and Allison, who is two.  They also have two Jack Russell terriers named Lola and June.


Outside of school, Mrs. Walls enjoys reading, watching college softball on TV and teaching kids how to pitch.  Walls has played softball since very early in childhood.  In high school and college, she frequently made the newspaper for her amazing pitching arm.  Although, she would never brag about it to anyone.


“I probably broke some records in high school, although I have never seen that information in print,” she states humbly before giving all the credit to her father.  “[M]y dad sat on a bucket and caught me hour and hour after hour and broken toe after concussion after other injury.  Without his willingness to work with me, I would have been nothing.”


Walls, who was once named SEC Pitcher of the Week, also credits God for her many achievements, which extend beyond softball and into the academic world (she was named to the SEC Honor Roll and Dean’s List at U of A every semester as well as being an Academic All-American three years in a row).


“[N]one of these accomplishments should be seen as a reflection of anything I was good enough to do.”


While her father’s help and God’s grace are integral to her success, it is clear that her hard work and determination are also reasons.


“It takes a TON of commitment and hard work to really make it big in sports,” she says of her time playing and time spent helping individuals like Kylie Turner learn how to master the game.  “I have met very, very few people in my life who realize what that actually means.”


Her true commitment though, is to her children.  More than her love of sports and reading is her love of spending the majority of her free time with her children.


“Well, when you have young kids, your hobbies mostly include doing laundry and taking them to tee-ball practice,” she says with a laugh.  “Either way, my kids are my world, and I love hanging out with them.  [. . .] Anything that involves spending quality time with my kids is my favorite thing to do.”


Being a mother is all the more special to Katy as she lost her mother at a young age.


“I didn’t have nearly the amount of time with my mom that I would have liked to have,” Walls told the Pirate Log.  “I believe that has taught me how important it is to cherish the time I have with my own children. I also think it makes me more patient with them.”


Losing a loved one has made it clear to her that her time is precious.


“Lately, I’ve really been trying to assess which activities I could be involved in are truly worth trading time with my kids for,” Katy claims wisely.  “I’m learning that overwhelmingly the answer to that dilemma is that next to nothing is worth that.  When you lose someone who you love far too early, it definitely helps put things into perspective in terms of what really is important and what won’t matter three years from now.”


This must play an important role in her dedication as a teacher as well.  She gives all the love her students that she can while she has them.


“I’m thankful that I chose a career that has proven so rewarding.  I love these kids.”


A recent report in America states that the average teacher in America has only been teaching three years.  So does Walls consider ten years a major milestone?


“I think we all want to give up at some points in our careers,” answers Walls.  “But for a teacher who truly loves the kids and wants the best for them, the tough days are worth the rewards we teachers receive through our relationships with these kids.”


Has moving to a new school this year brought about any of those tough days?


“This year has been a little tougher for me than some, since I’m sort of a new teacher again, making up lessons for a class that I haven’t taught in a long time, but I’m enjoying year ten.  [. . .]  I feel like I’m young enough to be able to relate to the kids, but old enough to be kind of seasoned.”


That mix of youth and seasoning is obviously the perfect combination for a teacher who is doing something right. As the first teacher of the month elected by the students, year ten is just the beginning of a great career.

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