Position: Kindergarten teacher at Hickory Creek Elementary
Experience: 20 years teaching, started in DeKalb County as a sub, worked two years as a special education assistant in DeKalb, then two years in Wilson County, taught fourth grade for 10 years at Hickory Creek, then seven years in kindergarten.
Fun Fact: Mr. Estes worked as a licensed funeral director for six years while teaching. He moved to kindergarten after leaving the funeral business.
Q: How’d you know you wanted to be a teacher?
A: “Since I was a kid,” Mr. Estes said. “I even asked Santa for a grade book one Christmas.”
Mr. Estes believes it was his calling from a very young age to be a kindergarten teacher and he loves children. “Now, will I have any kids of my own? No, but I still love my kids in class.”
Q: What grade is harder to teach, fourth or kindergarten?
A: “Kindergarten is the hardest and most demanding,” Mr. Estes said. “But it brings the most joy.”
Q: What’s the most challenging thing about teaching pre-pandemic?
A: Mr. Estes said the standards made by the legislature aren’t conducive to a kindergarten class environment.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing about teaching mid-pandemic?
A: He said virtual learning and reiterated his first point. “The state is still requiring the same standards set for a normal year in a COVID year,” he said.
Q: Do you have any crazy classroom stories?
A: “Every day is a crazy day.” Mr. Estes said he is constantly learning as a teacher. He said, “You never know what will happen. You’ll either laugh or cry.”
Q: What’s the best part of teaching?
A: “Everything,” he said. “What I love more than anything is seeing the magic of a child learning to read.” He has a magic reading wand in his classroom to give the students confidence in reading. He said his kids believe in the magic and it gets the students excited about reading.