Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Week: Nell Mattingly

SAVANNAH, Tenn. — This week’s Educator of the Week presented by the Tennessee Education Lottery is from Savannah.

“You have to educate the heart as well as the brain.” Nell Mattingly has a love for teaching that ignited from a book she read as a sixth grader.Nell Mattingly

“I read Catherine Marshall’s book ‘Christy’ about a teacher who went to volunteer in the mountains of East Tennessee,” Mattingly said. “Reading that book gave me a passion, and I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher.”

She teaches second grade at East Hardin Elementary School and grew up in the Shiloh area of Hardin County.

“This is my 30th year teaching, and as long as I love it, I’m going to keep coming back.” Mattingly said it’s hard to have a favorite moment because every day is different.

“There’s something funny pretty much every day. I wish I had written them down so that I could publish a book.”

She said the notes she receives are irreplaceable, especially when they come from the heart.

“The thing that keeps me coming back is the little notes, the ‘I love yous,’ the little stick figures — ‘this is me and this is you.'”

Mattingly said being a teacher is more than just giving facts to the students — it’s about compassion.

“I let them know that they are loved, that they are respected, that no matter how insufficient they think they are, that they are wonderful in my eyes.”

Mattingly will now be eligible for the statewide Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Month award. Starting in October, to vote for her or any of the other nominees, visit seehowitaddsup.com.

To nominate a teacher for our weekly award, email us at educator@wbbjtv.com with a brief description explaining why the honor is deserved.