Mom, kids inspired Martin’s teaching

Published 12:49 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Andalusia High School’s new English teacher, Rhonda Martin, is ready to instill the love of literature in her high school students.

“I was drawn to teaching because of my senior English teacher, Barbara King,” Martin said. “I envisioned teaching English in a big circle, drinking coffee and discussing literature, but that was before standardized testing. I still want to get my students to appreciate the timelessness of literature.”

Martin said that her mother, who was a special education teacher, and her own children, were also an inspiration when she decided to become a teacher.

“My mother was also in education,” Martin said. “And she helped me understand the importance of looking at the different capabilities of all children. Then when I had my own kids, how I taught changed because I want teach other peoples’ children how I would like my to be taught.”

Martin grew up in Excel, Ala., and earned her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a degree from the University of West Florida.

This will be Martin’s 24th year teaching, having spent her first 12 years teaching in Okaloosa County in Florida, and the next 11 at Opp High School.

Martin’s goal for this year is to make sure that every student works as hard as they can to reach their full potential.

“Each day, I want my students to come in and work as hard as they can,” Martin said. “I want each of my students driving for the highest mark they can achieve so they can reach their full potential.”

But for them to reach that full potential, Martin knows that is will take a little tough love.

“I think the biggest challenge will be helping my students to realize that when I challenge them, that I have their best interest at heart,” Martin said. “I want them to know that true learning is not memorizing, but analyzing and interpretation.”

Martin said that the decision to come to Andalusia was not an easy one, but one that deserved to be thought over.

“I prayed that I would know what to do,” Martin said. “And I knew that there was a chapter in my life that was supposed to be spent at Opp and now was the time to come to Andalusia. I truly believe I am supposed to be here and I am so honored to be chosen to work for this school system.”

The Andalusia pride and respect is what Martin said drew her to Andalusia.

“Everything about Andalusia is why I came here,” Martin said. “The pride the faculty, students, citizens have in Andalusia is amazing. Everyone pulls together and someone is always there to stand beside you.”

Though she is turning a page in the book that is her teaching career, Martin will always remember the students on the pages before.

“I loved my kids in Opp,” Martin said. “And I love my children here at Andalusia. The reason we teach is the love that we have for our students.”

Outside of the classroom, Martin loves to read, spend time with her grandchildren and watch SEC football.

She has been married to Robert Martin for 10 years, and she has two children, Brook and Blake Watson.