Calhoun County school officials honored the best of the best last Tuesday when they announced the 2010 Teacher of the Year, Wendy Guilford, and School Related Employee of the Year, Rhonda O’Bryan.The awards were presented during a lunch ceremony held at the First Baptist Church Activities Building. Wendy began her career at Blountstown Elementary School in 1985 and has been there ever since. Over the years, she has taught 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. She is currently teaching 5th grade science and social studies.“I believe the most rewarding thing about teaching is the relationships I have been able to form with my students,” Wendy remarks. “I also love when I witness a child understanding a concept for the first time. It is awesome to see their eyes light up and the smile that comes across their faces when they learn something new.”Every teacher will tell you being an educator is a challenging career with no two days the same. But there are plenty of moments when something amazing happens in the classroom and they remember, this is why I became a teacher. That is certainly true for Wendy.“When my students – without prompting – bring in objects they have found at home that go along with the topics I am covering in class, I know I have been able to reach them,” she says.As for the most frustrating thing about her job, she says with all certainty, the lack of time. “There are so many skills and concepts that need to be covered during the school year,” Wendy explains. “I wish I had more time to cover a standard thoroughly before rushing on to the next one.”Finding ways to keep children focused is always a challenge, but Wendy finds unique ways to make her classes interesting. “I am blessed to teach science because it naturally lends itself to fun hands-on activities,” she says. “My students love being able to get out of their seats, work in small groups, and conduct scientific investigations.”For those considering a career in education, Wendy offers these words of advice: “Teaching requires more than knowing your subject matter. Make sure you have the compassion that is required to be truly concerned about your students total welfare.”Being recognized for a job she truly loves means so much to Wendy, but she is quick to point out how much the BES faculty and staff work together to achieve positive results. “I am very honored and humbled to receive this recognition, but I know that if it were not for all of the other teachers working hard to prepare the students before they come to my class, I would not be able to be successful. The education of a child requires a team effort.”Next week, we will interview the School Related Employee of the Year, Rhonda O’Bryan.