His classroom comes first and that’s what has probably, in his own words, made history teacher Wes Talton Dadeville High School’s teacher of the year in 2016-17 and 2018-19.
Talton said he makes sure to master his content and focus on serving his students.
“It’s simplified my job,” Talton said. “I don’t get tied down in the paperwork… If I’m going to stress out about anything, it’s going to be them, so I try not to get distracted.”
Talton graduated from Dadeville in 2005 and has taught at the school for eight years. Talton said it’s surreal working alongside people who were once his teachers.
“It’s not even almost the same place except for the culture sometimes,” Talton said. “It’s a much different place from when I was at school here.”
Talton’s mother, current Tallapoosa County Board of Education member Carla Talton, taught social studies at DHS for more than 30 years. Talton said he wanted to teach because of his mother.
Talton currently teaches Advanced Placement U.S. history and government, politics and economics. He also is teaching at Southern Union State Community College. He is the head of the history department at DHS.
“I love my content,” Talton said. “I love what I teach. I love sharing it with other people. I love working with young people, developing them as human beings. I think I can do that through our content, trying to make our content relevant as a history instructor but I have a passion getting them to think and develop own ideas.”
Talton likes teaching history because it’s tied to the human condition and his students can learn to be better people from it.
“There’s so much drama in it,” Talton said. “There’re so many lessons we can learn how to improve ourselves today and into the future and I think our claims and our responsibilities as citizens is tied to our content and our country.”
Talton’s favorite part of teaching high school is educating upperclassmen.
“I like teaching the older students because in some way they have one foot in adolescence in this world and they have another foot in the real world,” Talton said. “You’re kind of the last thing they see before they go into the real world.”
Talton said the school has great teachers.
In addition to teaching, Talton runs a blog on YouTube and is the school’s Response to Intervention coordinator. RTI is a process used to help students struggling with a skill or lesson.
Talton leads morning prayers Friday mornings.
“I’ll stay here as long as they’ll have me,” Talton said.