Within in the halls of Crews Middle School, Mrs. Tharpe teaches math to a class of eager 6th graders. Although this year marks the 24th year she has been teaching, this career path was not what she first envisioned herself doing. She majored in fashion merchandising, but she soon discovered that she disliked working in retail. Growing up, she had always had an interest in math, and because many of the classes she took for her merchandising major were math-based, transitioning to a math teaching career was not difficult. She was recommended by the University of Georgia (where she attained her masters) to teach at Five Forks Middle School. At this time, Five Forks was the only middle school in the Brookwood cluster, but when Crews opened a few years later, she eventually transferred there.
She has been teaching at Crews Middle School ever since, and she attributes the family-oriented atmosphere at Crews to why she continues teaching there. She explains, “The parents are supportive and involved. They care about their children’s education.” Not only do the parents contribute to the uplifting environment, but the teachers, as well. Mrs. Tharpe especially enjoys working with the other teachers at Crews who work tirelessly for their students. The impact the community at Crews has had on its students is further evidenced, as Mrs. Tharpe discusses, by the number of teachers who have attended the middle school and choose to return to teach there. In fact, she shares that she has taught the current band director at Crews.
Mrs. Tharpe is committed to creating a nurturing environment for students, where students are not afraid of making mistakes. “Believe all kids can learn. Don’t give up on the children. Support them,” she advises. She also expresses how it is also vastly important to establish a sense of mutual respect between the students and the teachers. Upon being asked her philosophy on teaching, she shared the importance of being able to have a connection with the children and being able to understand them and see where they are coming from. “You never know what a child is bringing from their home life when they enter the classroom.” She recalls having some of her students’ parents pass away and the impact that has had on her and her students. It is evident that Mrs. Tharpe does not only persist in extending the knowledge of her students but is also concerned for her students beyond the classroom setting. Mrs. Tharpe’s dedication and the ways she shows her deeply caring heart are what bolster students in the Brookwood community.