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Carie Hayworth: Relationship Building Starts on Day One

"I’ve enjoyed every minute of being a teacher. But years ago when I told my mom I was going back to school to become a teacher, she laughed,” says Carie Hayworth. “When I was younger, I never saw myself working with children.”

Carie has now been a teacher for more than two decades, starting at Wake County and joining  Rowan-Salisbury Schools (RSS) 13 years ago. Carie realized how passionate she was about teaching when she worked with children with disabilities at a respite care center as a college job.

She went on to earn her master’s and teaching certificate at the same time, taught students with autism and then switched to elementary education as a teacher at Faith Elementary when she moved to North Carolina. And, this fall she is looking forward to teaching fourth grade at Rockwell Elementary.

“I’m really excited to be part of Rockwell Elementary! I get to try something different and meet lots of new kids,” she says. Carie will bring her unique teaching style and experience in the district to her new school.

“Relationship building starts on day one. My students know I’m in their corner, they know I care about them and they know they can always talk with me,” she says. “For parents, I’m always reaching out to them, and I make sure to share the good things that happened at school.”

Carie’s hands-on teaching style also helps build a love of learning in her young students: “Eight and nine years old is such a fun age. They are so inquisitive and they aren’t afraid to try new things.”

She uses students’ natural curiosity to build critical thinking and communication skills.“By third grade, they can think and explain, you just have to teach them how,” she says. “I love to have little debates—have them prove why they think they’re right. In order to get that point, we have to build respect and strong relationships. Only then can they step out and have that confidence to share and speak up.”

Carie goes above and beyond for all her students and their families. This last year, she put in the extra effort to connect with students over Zoom, bringing students from different learning groups together for a book club and reaching out to parents to see if they needed anything—and then dropped off care packages on their porches.

When she recounts some of her favorite student stories, there is one that sticks out. When she first met him he wasn’t her student yet—he was the younger brother of a student she coached for Girls on the Run. But Carie doesn’t leave any children out. She made such an impression on him that he would refuse to get in the car after Girls on the Run meetings without a good-bye hug!

She taught him in the third grade, too. Recently, when he heard that she was having a hard time, he even sent her a teddy bear so she always knew he had her back! This last year, when he saw her in the hallway, with health and safety protocols, they would give elbow bumps in the hallway.

Carie has helped so many students in her time teaching at RSS. She loves that they continue to say “hi,” or take a few moments just to catch up, when they see her around town and in the hallways.

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