Teacher of the Week: Vickey Finkley-Brown

Blythewood, SC (WLTX) - Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is how to keep going when life throws problems your way. It's a lesson that one teacher in Blythewood has dealt with and overcome, and now she's passing on her knowledge to her students.

Vickey Finkley-Brown's career falls in the category of, "plans were made to be broken".

"I didn't always want to be a teacher," Finkley-Brown confesses. "I thought I would move to New York and become a marketing exec. and then reality bit me and I was like, 'oh! I like English, maybe I'll teach it!', and it became addictive."

Addicted for thirteen years now she just can't break the habit of those "light-bulb" moments.

"When a kid actually gets it and they're excited about what we're learning and then they take ownership of it… that just really makes me happy as a teacher."

"She puts it all on the line," says student Ian Miller. "You can really feel she's here to help you."

She doesn't just offer help with English problems, but with life's problems and to Finkley-Brown, that means opening up about hers. Last year this teacher, wife and mother of three was diagnosed with Lupus.

"Lupus is an autoimmune disease," she explains, "where the immune system, instead of attacking viruses, starts to attack the body's organs, it attacks itself. I always say Lupus is the guy that you invite to the party but then he brings all his drunk friends… because everything else comes along with Lupus--a lot of other issues."

Issues like pain and chronic fatigue but she tries not to let it affect her teaching.

"I come in here and I know that my students belong to somebody. They have parents that want the very best for them and I give them what I want my children to have."

As the excellent teacher that she is, Finkley-Brown uses her experience with the disease as a teaching tool.

"If my students see me as whole person, with a family and the problems and all the other things that everyone else has, then it frees them to be who they are."

"She's not just a teacher she's like a parent," explains Alandria Haynes. "She's always there, always reaching out to us, always talking to us and that's why I like her so much. She's just amazing!"

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