Precise walks line between teacher and mom

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Holly Precise has two children – or two biological children. But she also considers all of her third grade class at Troy Elementary School her children.

“I get such a joy out of being other kids’ mom while they’re here,” Precise said.

Precise’s two kids will both be on the campus with her this year, as both are now in kindergarten. Precise said she’s excited, but she wants to make sure her attention is focused on her kids at school.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I’m excited they’ll be here with me, but it’s also a challenge to be a better teacher,” Precise said. ““I want my (school) kids to get the best of me here.”

And on the inevitable day that her kids reach the third grade, Precise said she absolutely wants them to be in another teacher’s class.

“I want them to get all of someone else,” precise said. “I just want to be their mom. I’m a mom first, then I’m teacher-mom.”

While Precise would rather not juggle being both a teacher and mom to her kids while in her class, she said teaching kids has definitely affected how she raises them at home.

“There’s an incentive to have my kids ahead of the game and practice what I preach,” Precise said. “I want them to have life skill and manners developed because I see that need when I’m in the classroom.”

Precise grew up in Jemison around a family full of teachers including her dad, grandmother, aunt and three brothers, but teaching wasn’t the first thing Precise tried her hand at.

“I tried to rebel and get a degree business, but that didn’t work out and I ended up teaching,” Precise said. “But I love it now and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

When Precise made the switch to a degree in education, her goal was to teach one of the lower grades, but that’s not the job opening that she found when she got out of college at Troy University.

“I started here as a sixth-grade teacher,” Precise said. “It wasn’t my pick, but I needed a job and it turned out to be such a blessing. I learned how to stand on my own two feet. I had learned how to look for things each student needed and didn’t need.

“The amount of difference in dependence is drastic. In sixth grade, those kids had already developed the capability to do everyday things. Teaching third grade allows you to expand and build on that foundation. It feels good that they still need me.”

Although Precise enjoys being ‘mom’ to her students during the day, she also knows that communication with parents is key to ensuring each student gets what they need.

“We talk all the time,” Precise said. “I can’t do this alone. The parents have to help me at home. It takes a village to raise a child, and our village is the parents, teachers and family. I’ll grab a big brother or sister if I’m not able to get through to a student. We have a true village here and it extends outside these walls.”

The parents seem to believe in Precise, as Messenger readers voted her teacher of the year for kindergarten through the sixth grade.

“I was really caught off guard,” Precise said. “I don’t do my job to get the spotlight. My job is to help my students. It’s gratifying, and I’m very appreciative, but any teacher here deserves that award.”