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Laura Osborne is shown with husband John and daughter Elizabeth after being announced as the 2023 McDuffie County Teacher of the Year last Thursday evening during a board of education meeting at Thomson High School.

Laura Osborne was named the Teacher of the Year for McDuffie County. Osborne teaches Georgia History to eighth graders at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School.

Winning Teacher of the Year came as a surprise to her.

“I don’t know, how do you put that into words,” Osborne said. “I was just shocked.”

Osborne added that she didn’t expect to win the award, and it wasn’t a goal of hers, it just sort of happened. Osborne has been teaching for 26 years with 22 of those years being in McDuffie County. Osborne said winning this award kind of brings a responsibility.

“It’s a huge responsibility to represent not just your school, but now you’ve got to represent your whole county,” Osborne said.

Osborne said when it comes to teaching each year she not only wants to make her students better learners, but also better citizens.

“You don’t want them to just be a book smart kid, you want them to be a good citizen,” Osborne said. “So that they’ll make educated decisions and informed decisions, you know when they leave.”

Osborne said she has taught Social Studies, Reading and English Language Arts, along with Georgia History throughout her teaching career.

“When I finally got the opportunity to just do Social Studies I was thrilled,” Osborne said.

According to Osborne, originally she wanted to teach high school, but the only employment opportunity she had was for middle school, and she had to get certified for middle school. Osborne said she fell in love with middle school when she student taught at her middle school in Elbert County.

“Then, my first year out of college I substituted for a year because you couldn’t get a job,” Osborne said. “So I substituted for a year, I did everywhere from kindergarten to 12th grade, and that’s when I realized after student teaching that middle school is what I wanted to do.”

Osborne said she doesn't have any future plans other than to keep teaching and then eventually retire. According to Osborne, dealing with COVID the last couple of years can take a toll on teachers mentally, especially having to do both, in-person and virtual learning. One thing she loves about being a teacher is building the relationships with her students.

“Seeing the kids you’ve had become successful,” Osborne said in regards to her favorite things about teaching.

She tries to build a relationship with each student she has. Osborne also drives the bus to athletic events or FFA events. According to Osborne, she drives the bus whenever they need it. She mostly does middle school but has drove for the high school some. Osborne added that negativity doesn’t help anyone, and she tries to stay positive.

“Help us, help you, so that we can make everybody successful because if we’re all successful then that helps the whole community,” Osborne said.”