TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Spanish teacher at Lake Gibson High School was just named Polk County’s teacher of the year.
Natalie McSwain has been teaching students for eight years.
“I’m here for the kids ultimately that’s what it comes down to. I wake up every day I’m here for them,” she said.
The teacher is known for her “desk-less classroom.”
“We have a lot of communicative activities that gets them moving,” she said. “We speak in Spanish. We start every day with our daily questions.”
Seven years ago, McSwain started the school’s girls’ lacrosse program and has been head coach ever since. She also mentors new teachers.
McSwain was recently named the county’s teacher of the year, and on Tuesday, the community came together to celebrate her accomplishments.
Lakeland Automall recognized her dedication to the community and gifted her with a Hyundai Elantra. For the past five years, the dealership has given the teacher of the year a car.
“What the teachers put into their children in our community, I just felt like it was only right in fair that we give something back to our teachers,” said Lakeland Automall owner Greg Balasco. “Every year we put together a campaign for the teachers of the year and the students and faculty, though on the teacher of the year through lots of different criteria, through the course of the year as they take care of our children.”
“This is just another honor,” McSwain said. “I’m so grateful and it’s very exciting.”