CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) - An Arkansas educator traded in his badge for a book and became an inspiration to students and staff.
Teacher Edward Meharg has been very popular with the students in Cabot. Inside room 106, you'll find a class full of surprises, and a class that students want to be in.
"Every time you step into his classroom, you have no idea what's going to happen because he always keeps you guessing," said student Rhett Thurman.
"When I was sick, I would just be sad because I missed that class in particular," added student Victoria Staton. "I tell my neighbor, since he's in 5th grade this year; I tell him you want Mr. Meharg. He's the best social studies and science teacher you'll ever get. Sadly he didn't get him."
Victoria and Rhett, now 6th graders miss their former teacher.
"It makes me feel very humble, very humble. [It] makes me want to work even harder, and it reminds me of why I'm here. Teaching is a calling." Meharg said.
That calling came when Meharg first stepped into the classroom as a Cabot Police Officer. He helped start the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program at Cabot Middle School South back in 1996.
"The atmosphere of the school, the teachers, the students, very positive atmosphere. It opened my eyes to this job," he continued. Meharg has now being doing this job for 11 years. "When I walk in I'm excited to be here. I can't wait to be here."
And, neither can his students. What makes him different they say, is the way he teaches.
"He always role plays. He always sets the lighting, sets the mood and he lets you be part of it." Victoria explained.
"He always adds fun and excitement to whatever. He doesn't just tell us get out your textbook and turn to page 46," added Rhett.
But, it's not all just fun. Meharg told THV 11 that teaching comes with challenges.
"You know the accountability factor is very high. Common core is in most of the states; the testing is high stakes. Testing is a big challenge for educators. We are called upon to use the best practices, use the best methods to teach the students," Meharg stated.
Another challenge, he said, is time. He believes there's never enough. They're always striving to do better, and he doesn't take anything for granted.
"It's a very powerful job because you're impacting lives, and that's a huge responsibility," he went on.
"Since he's inspired me, I've just always wanted to come to school and learn more," Victoria said.
"I feel happy because I kind of think of him as a second father because I can just trust him and what he does and how he does things," added Rhett.
"You're called to touch hearts; you're called to change lives; you're called to make a difference," confirmed Meharg.
And, that's exactly what he's doing. As for the future, Meharg said he'd like to become a superintendent, but right now, he's not ready to leave the classroom.
Don't forget, you can learn about more incredible teachers Friday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. when the new two-hour CBS special, "Teach," premieres right here on THV 11.