Camden County Teacher of the Year Lori Worthington ’89: ‘Every Day I Have the Opportunity to Make a Difference in a Child’s Life. I Want to Help Them Become Successful’

Lori Worthington and Family

Lori Worthington (center) with her husband, an NC State graduate, and her son, a senior at NC State

When Lori Worthington ’89 arrived at NC State, she wasn’t sure what major to pursue. As a young girl, she enjoyed playing school, teaching was always a profession of interest and she wanted a job where she could make a difference. After thinking long and hard about what career would be the right fit, she chose to enroll in the College of Education.

But it wasn’t until she started taking classes in the college that she realized teaching was the path for her. All of her education courses made teaching seem like a rewarding profession, her professors explained things in a way that made sense, and the material was presented in a way that was useful and practical and could be used in her own classroom, she said.

About Lori Worthington

Role: Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher at Camden Intermediate School

Education: Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education, NC State College of Education

Awards and Honors: 2018-19 Camden County District Teacher of the Year; Elizabeth City Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Award; The Daily Advance Reader’s Choice Award for Best Teacher; Elizabeth City Middle School Team of the Year, Team Leader

Why She Became a Teacher: “It’s probably the most rewarding job anyone could have. Every day teachers get the chance to help a child, make a difference in a child’s life and give a child the joy of learning.”

Advice to Future NC State College of Education Students: “You will find after a few classes that the college is there to make you a better person and an even better teacher. The college will be there for you even after you graduate. The professors will prepare you for your future.”

Why She Chose Education: “I chose education because teachers educate all the other professions. Without teachers, how would anyone gain knowledge? Learning is so important and teachers who instill a love of learning in their students – it’s the most rewarding thing a person can do with their life.”

“By the end of my first education class, I knew I had made the right decision. I was right where I needed to be,” Worthington said. “That first class and professor made me feel comfortable and I felt like I had finally found my place in the world.”

And Worthington had found her place. For 25 years she’s been a teacher and has never looked back. She is currently a sixth grade language arts teacher at Camden Intermediate School, where she was named the 2018-19 Camden County District Teacher of the Year.

“It was quite an honor to be named as District Teacher of the Year,” she said. “Camden County has some of the best teachers in the state and to have the honor to represent our county was quite humbling. It is nice to know that my efforts in the classroom are noticed and appreciated.”

An avid reader, being a language arts teacher was the perfect fit for Worthington, who studied middle grades education with a concentration in language arts and social studies. She enjoys the diversity of language arts, which includes reading, writing, speaking and grammar.

“I love reading stories or novels with my students, where I can help them delve into what the author is really trying to say. I enjoy stories that my students write — they always have such a unique perspective,” Worthington said. “[English] was my favorite subject in school and I try to instill that love of the subject in my students.”

Her favorite unit to teach is the Holocaust, where her students read historical fiction novels based on the Holocaust. She finds it rewarding to be able to help her students learn about such an important subject in the world’s history.

“You can do so much with language arts. I can switch things up so it’s never boring for my students because I can cover such a wide variety of topics,” she said.

Worthington credits the NC State College of Education for making her the teacher she is today. She says she was prepared to be a first-rate teacher and was given the tools to be successful in the classroom for so many years. It’s the skills she learned, the preparation she was given and her passion for students that has kept her in the classroom.

“Teaching is a job that is truly different every single day. I enjoy meeting new students each year and working with them and their families throughout the year,” Worthington said. “I have been fortunate to teach siblings in the same family. I am now teaching the children of students I taught many years ago. That is always such a rewarding experience.”

After 25 years of teaching, Worthington can look back and say she made the right decision by entering the NC State College of Education. She is just as motivated today as she was when she stepped foot in the classroom as a first-year teacher.

“Every day I have the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. I want to help them become successful, as well as teach them some life lessons along the way,” she said.