by BRITTANY HALL
Sometimes you get a teacher whose laid-back personality and wholehearted fundamentals inspire you to become the best version of yourself. As you grow into an adult you’re still reminded of their lessons and the amount of love that was poured into each of them as well as the students that were blessed to call them their teacher. Swainsboro High School is a home away from home for many amazing educators, one being Science Teacher and Emanuel County native, Amanda Freeman.
Her decision to teach came after a discussion that she had with her husband Regan, who was unsure of what he wanted to do as a career. However, Freeman knew that she wanted to follow a path that could take her anywhere and was always filled with enlightenment when it came to tutoring others, especially kids. She was further inspired to follow her calling when she was reminded of the lasting impression that was left on her from an inspirational teacher that she once had.
“Toni Terwilliger was my high school technology teacher.” She explained. “She always pushed me to try new things. She also wanted me to do the best that I could no matter what.”
So, following high-school, Freeman began attending the University of Georgia where she obtained her BSA. She then went on to study at Georgia College & State University where she received her MAT. After completing both colleges and earning those prestigious titles, she furthered her education at Kennesaw State University and secured the title of Education Specialist in Instructional Technology. In 2007, Freeman began her career at SHS in classroom B110 where she continues to illuminate the minds of teenagers, 16 years later. Among these, she has also worn many other hats including the director of Promfest which has been an SHS tradition for many decades. She was also responsible for coordinating prom, was a student council advisor and was a first-year science instructor at SMS for a special program called 8.5, when it began. Today, Freeman’s responsibilities are limited to classroom B110 and as a wife to Reagan Freeman and mother to SPS first grade student, Keagan Freeman. Outside of her classroom, Freeman enjoys spending time with friends and family, hunting, cooking, and watching sports. Nevertheless, a large part of her heart remains with her SHS students even when they aren’t together, or time forces them to part.
“I truly have loved each and every student that has come through my class.” She said with a smile. “I am always ready to give a hug and reminisce on some of our memories at SHS. I love SHS and want everyone to know what great people are here making a difference every day.”
From a previous student’s perspective:
In 2011, I was a tenth-grade student at Swainsboro High School. At that time, everything was as it had always been. Then, in the middle of the year, we were told that my mother had received an incredible job opportunity that she couldn’t pass on. It was a promotion for the position that she had worked so incredibly hard for but to receive her well-earned title, she would have to relocate to Atlanta as that’s where the position needed to be filled. Before we said our goodbyes to our small hometown of Swainsboro and began to prepare to plant new roots in the state capital, I had to go back to my high school to turn in any work that was needed before I could walk out of those black and gold halls for good. As I made my way down B-Hall to classroom B110, Mrs. Freeman's Biology classroom, I began to reminisce on all the memories and moments from my short time there that I never considered missing before I had to permanently say goodbye. I walked up to her class and grabbed her doorknob, hesitantly turning it, as I looked in through the small rectangular window at the faces of my friends and classmates. They were the steady familiars who I had known since preschool. With that sight and the sinking realization that this was the last time I would ever be here, my throat began to choke up. As I gathered my emotions and turned my gaze to Mrs. Freeman, who was quietly sitting at her desk, I knocked on her door and gave her a smile and a wave, not wanting to disrupt her class. She gave a wholehearted smile back in my direction before quickly leaving her desk to meet me outside of her door. Without saying a word, she wrapped her arms around me and gave me the warmest hug I had ever received from a teacher. The tears began to fall, and I knew that she knew what I was feeling and that my absence would be felt in her classroom, even though I was a silly goose of a student the majority of the time. That moment for me was significant, as it was the moment that I decided to give up new opportunities in Atlanta and stay in my hometown of Swainsboro. Had it not been for that interaction, my life would be completely different from what it is today and I’m so thankful for that. It’s been over a decade since that pivotal moment and nine years since I graduated from SHS. This past May, I attended my youngest brother's graduation, where I witnessed a new generation of students become adults in a matter of seconds. Feeling a mixture of joy and empathy for them, as they excitedly crossed the threshold into the real world, I noticed something that tugged at my heart and took me back to 17. As each kid stood in line, waiting for their names to be called, they nervously held tight to Mrs. Freeman, just as I had done years ago when I wasn’t quite ready to leave. She didn’t let them go until they were ready and when they were ready, they each gave her a big, warm hug goodbye, and turned to walk into their future. Teachers like Amanda Freeman are rare but the laughter and positive impact from the days that were lived within her classroom will always be remembered with smiles and love. Collectively, from all of your students, thank you for being such an inspiration in our lives Mrs. Freeman.
Now that you’ve met the teacher and read her story, read her Q/A’s below to further understand Amanda Freeman’s incredible values of teaching and how she’s changing and inspiring young lives in our community.
What have you found most rewarding in your career?
Freeman: The people and my connection with them
What advice would you like to give to new or upcoming educators?
Freeman: I would tell them that it is not for the faint of hearts. They have to be dedicated and make a commitment every day to change the future of our students.
How does it make you feel to see the success that many of your previous students have become?
Freeman: I love it! And success does not mean that you have some fancy job and make tons of money. I measure success on how happy you are and what you are doing to provide for your family.
If you could tell your past students or future students one thing that you hope will stick with them all throughout life, what would that be?
Freeman: Be the best you possible!
What’s a favorite memory or some of your favorite memories that you have from your time as an educator?
Freeman: I have had some great memories at Promfest. I also have the best memory of winning the basketball championship in Macon.
If you would like to nominate a phenomenal local teacher for Durden Banking Company’s Teacher Spotlight, please send recommendations with their information to our writer, Brittany Hall, at email@example.com. Thank you!