CLARKTON — Booker T. Washington Primary School has something to celebrate as first-grade Instructional Assistant Charles Corbett was named the 2014 North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants Teacher Assistant of the Year state runner up.
In an email that was shared with the Bladen Journal by Bladen County Public Relations Director Valerie Newton, William K. Johnston, the president of the Bladen County Association of Teacher Assistants, wrote, “Bladen County has a lot to be proud of! For the past three years we have won District 4 and placed within the top two all three years. Mr. Corbett will be honored at the NCATA Banquet on May 3, 2014 in Winston-Salem.”
Corbett said he was honored.
“It made me feel good. Like I told some, my accomplishments have been recognized. I appreciate Bladen County and the District for recognizing me,” said Corbett.
He added that it was an accomplishment to be recognized not only locally, but at the district and state level as well.
Corbett said this is his 11th year serving as a teacher assistant and he shared his story regarding how he came to be a teacher assistant.
“I was the result of downsizing,” said Corbett.
He worked in the textile industry for about 25 years until the plant he worked in was closed.
“I had to find something else to do,” said Corbett of the closure.
He earned an associate’s degree in the early childhood education then transferred to Mount Olive College where he received his bachelor of science degree in early childhood education.
“I just wanted to go into the school system,” said Corbett.
Soon after entering the classroom as a teacher’s assistant, Corbett said he learned that he could be a benefit to both the teacher and students.
When asked what his advice would be to someone considering a career as a teacher assistant, Corbett said, “to research and understand what will be expected of you.” He added that one must understand there will be a lot of intervention by and interaction with parents. Corbett said that, not only does it “take a village” to raise a child, now it takes “a whole country.”
Corbett added, “Reach out to anyone and everyone you can.”
He said his most memorable experience was working with the exceptional children’s program. Corbett said that the bright spot to that was being able to see that he gave the students something they could hang on to (through a lesson) and use again next year.
He said his goal for himself is to “I might pursue licensure … I’m working on my masters at UNC-Pembroke for counseling. I feel like it would help me two fold in it would help me in the school system and as a pastor.”
Corbett is also serving as a pastor at St. Peter AME Zion Church in Warsaw.
He credits his wife, Alice, with being his rock.
“My wife is one of my focal points,” said Corbett. “She is really the one who pushed me to this point.”
Corbett said shortly after the plant closed and he was deciding what to do, his wife was reading his memory book from high school.
“I wrote in my memory book that I would love to get into education,” said Corbett. “She was the start of things. At times when I get at a low moment, she hind of picks me up.”