Ali Tobin enjoys running races, collecting shark teeth, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox.
But for her first grade class at Pee Dee Elementary, Tobin is the person who helps push them to do their best, even during a pandemic, and for her efforts, she was named Rockin’ Jump’s Teacher of the Month.
Enjoy a Q&A to help you get to know one of Horry County’s most popular teachers:
How long have you been a teacher (overall and along the Grand Strand)?
I graduated from Coastal Carolina with my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education in 2014 and my Master’s degree in Literacy in 2019. This is my seventh year teaching in Horry County. I taught one year as a reading interventionist and this is my sixth year teaching first grade.
How long have you been at your current school and what grade do you teach?
I have been teaching at Pee Dee Elementary since the fall of 2015. I have taught first grade since I have started here and I absolutely love it. Pee Dee Elementary has a wonderful staff and amazing students that persevere and work hard!
What led you into teaching and what continues to motivate you?
Even as a little girl, I would always say I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. From babysitting to being a camp counselor to working with my younger cousins, I have always enjoyed working with young children. Also growing up, I had many teachers that inspired me. Both on an educational level and a personal level. These teachers pushed my love of reading, especially when it was hard. First grade is a big year to learn how to read and I love seeing my students grow as readers throughout the school year.
What was your reaction to winning the award?
It was an awesome surprise. Despite all the crazy changes and challenges during this school year, it was so kind for parents to appreciate me and my teaching. I always believe that it is important to build relationships with both students and their families as well. Mrs. Plowman (Principal), Mrs. McGuirt (Assistant Principal), and Miss Foultz (Instructional Coach) came in the morning to surprise us.
What was the reaction of your class?
My class was so excited! Rockin’ Jump is a big favorite in my class so they loved hearing that we got passes to go to Rockin’ Jump! At first, my students thought we were going on a field trip, but I told them they get to bring the passes and go whenever they want. A field trip to Rockin’ Jump would be fun though!
What do you find most rewarding about being a teacher?
There are so many rewarding things about teaching! My favorite has to be when kids get that “Aha!” moment, especially when it’s with something that wasn’t so easy for them to begin with. I love when students don’t give up! Also, I think it is so important to build relationships with students. I love having former students come back and visit me and share their accomplishments. Another rewarding thing is building and fostering trust in the classroom so that kids can be comfortable being themselves! I love to be silly with students and make their accomplishments HUGE so that students come out of their shell and become one big community!
Outside of the classroom, what are some of your interests?
When I am not at school, I love running races, hunting for shark teeth, and crafting. I have found over 1,000 shark teeth! My class would tell you I love Dunkin Donuts iced coffee too and that I couldn’t live without it!
If there are any fun facts or anything else interesting you would like to share?
I grew up in Massachusetts and I am a big Red Sox fan!