Hobbton High School theater arts teacher Angela Martin has been named the 2013-14 Sampson County Schools’ Teacher of the Year.
In her ninth year of teaching, and with all those years being at Hobbton, Martin is both excited and a bit taken aback by the distinction. “I am so honored and humbled, deeply humbled,” she attested. “I know that the other teachers nominated are all excellent, so to be chosen from that group is a real honor. It was an honor just to be nominated by my peers to be Hobbton’s Teacher of the Year so being able to represent Sampson County in this way is great.”
Martin has taken quite a journey on her way to being named Teacher of the Year.
She graduated from North Carolina State University where she majored in political science and minored in international relations and music. After college, Martin, who is a talented singer, traveled for a year and a half with the musical group Up With People, performing all over North America and Europe.
“The group was made up of 150 international students. There were 31 nationalities represented. It made for such a great experience,” recalled Martin, adding that they had the opportunity to perform for the Pope and open a show for Faith Hill.
Despite earlier plans to become a lawyer, once Martin returned home, she decided to pursue teaching via lateral entry. “I have to give some credit to Peggy Carter. She always encouraged me to be a teacher, always told me I would make a wonderful teacher. She was a great mentor.”
Carter’s belief in Martin and her teaching ability was certainly correct and is proven by Martin’s student-centered teaching philosophy.
“I believe in teaching the individual student, in differentiated instruction,” stressed Martin. “My advice to teachers would be to remember that every student is willing to learn and every student wants their teacher to encourage them. You need to be positive about your job because, as a teacher, you have an impact that can last a lifetime, last several generations even.”
During her time a Hobbton, Martin has touched many students’ lives and has proven herself to be a dedicated and active teacher, often doing so much that one wonders when she sleeps.
“I try to get really be involved with students’ activities and I try to create opportunities for students,” said Martin.
“We have a huge theater department here,” Martin noted. “I started a drama club during my first year here and it’s the largest non-CTE (career, technology, education) club.”
Hobbton students involved in the theater department perform a Christmas show every year. “All of the elementary kids in the county are invited to it,” said the new Teacher of the Year, mentioning that at Christmas the students often perform children-oriented plays that she has written herself.
“We also always do a spring musical. In the past we have done Dream Girls, Grease, and Little Shop of Horrors,” added Martin. “This year, the musical is Happy Days.”
“When I thought about teaching, I knew that if I ever taught I would want to teach drama,” shared Martin. “This class is such a creative outlet for the kids…the theater is a place that everyone can call home — athletes, band members, students who don’t really know what their niche is — I make sure that all students feel welcome in my classroom.”
“I love that I get to see my students grow. I watch them come in and go from shy, nervous kids who don’t like to speak in front of people to students who feel confident and independent,” continued Martin. “They learn to work collaboratively but they are also able to do well independently, performing or speaking in front of people. It’s here that many of them find their passion for performing, and it doesn’t matter whether they choose to pursue a career in acting or not. What they learn are things they can continually use no matter what.”
In addition to leading Hobbton’s theater arts department, Angela is also in charge a the school’s scholarship pageant.”I created the system for the girls and each year we give anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000 worth of scholarship funds.”
During her time at Hobbton, Martin has also started the school’s chapter of ITS (International Thespian Society), created a show choir, coached the cheerleading team during her first three years at Hobbton, is the school’s current AIG coordinator, and often assists students who need help getting scholarships
Last but certainly not least, Martin has also coordinated Hobbton High’s participation in the the popular Fox 50 Lip Dub contest for the past three years.
“The first year we entered we won $2,500. The second year, we won and got $10,000. Even though they made it so we couldn’t win again since we had won the previous year, we still participated in 2012,” said Martin, noting that this last time she had 200 Hobbton students join in on the fun.
“I think we did so well in the Lip Dub contest because we had a goal. The students really wanted to win because they wanted to renovate the auditorium,” explained Martin. “Our auditorium is used a lot by the community so we wanted to be it to be presentable and nice. The contest was the catalyst for us to be able to do that.”
Believe it or not, Martin still manages to find time to pursue her master’s degree in theater education from UNC-Greenville as well as actively participate in her community.
She has been the executive director of the Miss Greater Sampson County pageant for five years, is the choir director at Roseboro First Baptist Church, is on the Sampson Community Theatre’s board of directors, directs plays for the community theater two to three times a year, leads a performance group called Angela’s Musical Troupe, and teaches private voice lessons, to name a few.
With so many things demanding her attention, Martin’s passion for music and the theater and her love for teaching and for her students keeps her going and makes all the hard work more than worth the effort.
“With teaching, I feel like I’m using the gifts that God wants me to use,” shared Martin. “I believe that teaching is a gift and everyday you have the opportunity to change a student’s life. Thirty years from now, I want people to remember me as a teacher who made a difference.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.