Shelley Carter is a first-grade teacher at F.E. Burleson. She received artwork of her late father from her students.

Teacher, wife, mother: Shelley Carter does it all

By Lauren Estes-Velez

Hartselle Enquirer

 

Children hold a special place in first-grade teacher Shelley Carter’s heart. She is pregnant with her second child – and getting to share that experience with her students.

The fifth-year F.E. Burleson teacher started by teaching Pre-K then moved to kindergarten – but this year she was able to make a change by following her class to first grade.

“This year I got the opportunity to move to first grade with my class,” Carter said. “It has been so fun to have my group two years in a row. It’s been especially helpful while I’ve been pregnant. They help take care of me, like picking things up off the floor since it’s hard for me to bend over at this point. I’ve even had a student tie my shoes for me. They love to help, and they are a special group I’ll never forget.”

Carter met her husband Clint while attending the University of North Alabama in 2009.

“Clint actually was going to school to be a teacher too, but he isn’t using that degree now,” she said. “We have a spunky little girl named Blakely who will be 3 years old in May. I’m also expecting a little boy at the beginning of March. We love to spend time on our land together with our two dogs. Most of my free time is spent with my daughter finding fun adventures together.”

Looking back over her five years of teaching, Carter said she has one memory that is both heartbreaking and rewarding at the same time – an experience that impacted her life as both a teacher and a daughter.

“One of my favorite memories was actually from this year,” Carter said. “My dad passed away unexpectedly on the last day of school in 2015. Since I’ve had this class for two years, they know about my story and have been so sweet and supportive. For Christmas this year, all the parents went in together and got a beautiful drawing of my dad made. It was a complete surprise. At our Christmas party, they gave me the artwork with a blanket for us to bring our new baby home in and an ornament with pictures of my family.

“One of the mothers even called my mom to come to our Christmas party. The students and parents were so sweet. One student said, ‘You loved your dad a lot, didn’t you Mrs. Carter?’”

Carter said she immediately hung the artwork in her kitchen.

“Hearing our daughter ‘talk’ to her Pawpaw is something that brings more joy to my heart than I know how to describe,” Carter said. “That was the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received and a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

Carter is a Hartselle native and said she has been in or around this community in some way her entire life. A big part of her motivation to become a teacher came from her own experience while a student in Hartselle City Schools.

“I went to school at Burleson. In kindergarten, I had Ms. Beverly Waldrop. She was one of the most influential teachers I had, and I’ve known since I was in her class that I wanted to be a teacher – specifically a kindergarten teacher, which I got to do for three years,” Carter said. “I even was given some of her supplies and books when she retired. Teaching at Burleson has always been a dream of mine, and I’m so blessed that it actually came true.”

A goal for Carter for the future, other than bringing another healthy baby into the world in March and being a great mother to two children, is to further her education and be able to extend her knowledge as an educator.

“Eventually, I’d love to get my master’s degree in guidance counseling,” Carter said. “Maybe next year will be the year to start that journey.”

 

Shelly Carter, right, and husband Clint have one daughter, Blakely.

 

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