Elgin, SC (WLTX) - When you look around Mr. Rashad Adam's 5th grade classroom at Bookman Road Elementary, you can tell the attitude is still a bit boys versus girls.
The gender line is clearly drawn, boys are on one side of the room and all the girls are on the other. However, when it comes to who is leading the class gender doesn't matter at all.
"I think he's a nice teacher and he's taught me a lot of stuff this year," said student Erin Byrd.
"He also gives us a lot of chances when we jump on the desk and are hyper," added Vrshawn Owens.
For many students Mr. Adams is the first male teacher they've ever had.
"Usually at first they're a little apprehensive," explained Adams. "Once they find out that I'm pretty laid back and fairly easy to get along with, it tends to be an easy transition from a female teacher to a male."
Since he was in grade school Mr. Adams knew he wanted to work in the classroom.
"One of the first male teachers that I had was in high school and he was the track coach at my school. He just did a great job of teaching me I guess life skills, things to live by, and I wanted to do the same thing for kids as well."
"He's really friendly and he connects with the students," said Erin, "so he's not just an adult he's kind of like a friend to everyone in the classroom. "
Mr. Adams sets the bar high for his students.
"If you maintain high expectations and make sure you support them in anyway, you're going to get effective results."
But understands his students are still kids and believes there are lessons in everything.
"It's okay to fail, as long as you're trying at things," Adams said.
Mr. Adams certainly hasn't failed at being a teacher which is why he has earned News19's Golden Apple Award.
Adams was named Richland District Two's Teacher of the Year back in 2008, and has several years of experience in his field; however, he says he's still learning.
"The biggest thing that I've learned is that I'm still learning. It's okay to be wrong. And it's okay to learn with the kids. And most importantly it's okay to kind of let go at times and have fun with it because that's the most important thing."