Christi Cauthen still thinks about the influence that her third grade teacher had on her growing up, crediting the teacher for instilling her desire to read. Now, Cauthen wants to make the same impact on her students through fun and innovative ways of teaching.

“I think that’s why I still have a passion is that school was fun for me, so in return, I want to make sure that it’s fun for them,” Cauthen said.

Cauthen is a third grade teacher at Martinsville Elementary, where she teaches reading, language arts and social studies. She teaches subjects and skills that will benefit the students for the rest of their lives and wants her students to leave her classroom with confidence.

“More than anything, I want them to fill successful, to be confident in themselves, and to know that they were loved in third grade and will be loved in fourth grade. Always work hard is something we preach the most,” she said.

Writing is what Cauthen says is the hardest subject for her students to grasp. She credits technological advancements such as smartphones for students’ dwindling the desire to write.

Nevertheless, to make writing a little more interesting for the students, she implements fun ways to make writing more desirable. Examples include, letting the students choose what they want to write about, writing on tables with dry-erase markers, or writing on the whiteboard or smart board to get away from the typical pen-to-paper.

“When you see a student struggling and the look on their face when they finally understand it or get the concept, there is nothing better than that,” she said. “That’s what keeps you going, even on the hard days.”

Students in Cauthen’s class read “Pippi Longstocking:” — a childhood favorite of hers. After completing the book, the class watches the movies that Cauthen still has on VHS. On the social studies side, the students learn about maps, landforms and basic government.

Aside from teaching three subjects to third graders, Cauthen also drives a school bus in the mornings and afternoons, and began serving as the head girls coach in basketball, softball and golf.

“It’s really hard,” she said on balancing three responsibilities. “I’m a morning person, so the bus route doesn’t really bother me. I start my morning off with picking up kids, and they are really excited to be there, and I get to be the first one that they see in the morning that says ‘Good morning.’ I get to see a lot of different kids that I don’t usually get to see.”

“Coaching is a big undertaking,” she said. “It’s a lot of time away from your family. Then again, you do it for the kids.”

There’s no place she would rather be than Martinsville, crediting the students, parents and faculty for her long tenure at the district.

“There is no place better. We always talk about our pirate family. It truly is a family. We truly fill like a family. You couldn’t ask for a better community, and have great teachers, great kids, great parents,” she said.

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