Five Questions for Eve Cheatham: Hartselle City Schools Secondary Teacher of the Year

Eve Cheatham is in her eighth year at Hartselle Junior High School where she teaches seventh and eighth grade mathematics. Her career in education spans three decades. She was chosen by her peers as the Secondary Teacher of the Year for Hartselle City Schools. Eve has been married to her high school sweetheart and Air Force retiree, Jeff Cheatham, for more than thirty years. She is a proud mother to Katherine, an AP English teacher at Austin High School, and mother-in-law to Hayden, an oncology nurse at Huntsville Hospital. She has two golden retrievers and a mean fluffy cat. She enjoys ringing with her church handbell choir, tailgating in Tuscaloosa on football game days, watching Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter films/tv shows, and traveling to the Smokey’s or Disney. 

1. What made you go into education, specifically secondary education?

Eve says building relationships is what led her to her career in education. As an elementary and secondary student in the Hartselle City School system, she was one of those kids who truly loved her classes, her school and her teachers. A graduate of Hartselle High, Athens State and the University of West Alabama, Eve says she continues to find joy in teaching her junior high students the importance of forging lasting relationships within a building.  Her experiences as an educator, military wife, and mom have taken her from the diverse communities of Valdosta, Georgia, and to the island of Guam.

2. How has your role as a teacher evolved over the 22 years you’ve been in the classroom?

Eve says there have been terrific technological advances that provide much more support for struggling students. There are also higher expectations for teachers.

3. What advice would you share with people who are interested in becoming teachers?

“You have to be willing to think, walk, and talk teacher for the better part of your life,” Eve says. “You are defined by our profession; you are a teacher and a role model. You have to truly love what and who you teach. The commitments are many- but immeasurable in quality.”

4. Did you have a teacher or teachers who made a special impact on you in school?

Eve says several Hartselle teachers impacted her school years in various ways. “Charlotte Riddlehover (third grade math) showed me that I was pretty good at math, Glenda Wright (fifth grade math) made me fall in love with Geometric constructions, Nancy Pressnell (seventh grade math) showed me that girls could be great and even competitive in math through math team competitions, Sylvia Teague (ninth grade and Algebra II) demonstrated to me that a math teacher must work just as hard as her students; teach bell to bell, leaving no time to play. Donna Legg-Battles (ninth-12th grades) taught me that we must champion one another in all our endeavors; she remains my biggest cheerleader as a professional mathematician; William Booth (11th-12th grade) showed me that teachers can make errors, laugh at themselves, be silly, yet professional, and be at ease with oneself.

5. If you had to teach a class on a deserted island, what are the five indispensable things you would take with you?

Mechanical Pencils (I call them Pen-skiies), College Rule Paper, Calculators (I have named mine Root-y), Trident Tropical Twist Gum and Gatorade (Fruit Punch or Cherry!)

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