Getting to Know You: AIS Teacher of the Year Ali Ham

Ali Ham, AIS Teacher of the Year

My name is Ali Ham. I am married to Jake Ham and we have two awesome kids, Maddie (7) and JT (2). I am from Marietta, GA. I went to Auburn University for two years and then graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2013.  I’ve been teaching math at AIS for six years. Before moving to Albertville, I taught third grade in Birmingham for three years.

What made you go into education? 

I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I had two teachers in high school that really changed my life and confirmed this decision. They invested in and intentionally developed meaningful relationships with their students. It had a huge impact on me and I knew I wanted to try to have that same impact on kids in the future.

Why did you want to teach at AIS?

I remember sixth grade being a challenging year. I know how impressionable kids are at this age and I knew I wanted to use that to make a difference in their lives. The teachers and admin that work here make it pretty awesome, too! 

What three words would your peers, administrators or students use to describe you?

Compassionate, intentional, problem-solver.

What would you tell your first-year self?

Find your people. You cannot do this job alone. Surround yourself with people who are going to celebrate with you on the great days and lift you up on the days that are hard, because there will be days like that.

How do you emphasize involving families in your students’ education?

I’ve created a Facebook page this year. On it I post upcoming events, study guides, tests dates, reminders, and photos of things happening in our classroom and school. It’s really been a positive thing and I hope it’s helped keep parents informed of what is going on in the classroom. Some things can get lost in translation in 6th grade. 

What advice would you give to those who are interested in teaching?

Go for it! I can’t imagine a more rewarding career. Be intentional about developing relationships. But also, it’s important to find your balance between teaching and life.

What’s your favorite part of the school day?

The moments in between teaching when you get to be silly with your students and they get to see who you really are. 

If you had to teach a class on a deserted island, what are the five indispensable things you would take with you?

My co-workers, white boards, markers.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned thus far in your career?

Relationships matter. The most important thing that students need to learn from you during your time with them is that you care about them. Everything else comes second.

What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?

I hope they remember feeling loved and left my class feeling more confident about who they are.

Describe working at ACS in one word!