Returning Marlin: New Destin Teacher is ‘coming home’

Savannah Chastain
Chelsie Hayden is no stranger to Destin. “I started out in kindergarten at Destin Elementary,” she said. “It’s so cool to be a part of such a tight-knit community

The fast approaching school year will mark Chelsie Hayden’s first year teaching at Destin Middle School, however, this is not the first time she has walked the Marlin halls.

“I just remember sticking notes in the lockers with my girlfriends,” said Hayden when reminiscing her days as a student at DMS. “Everything about coming back to Destin is happy. It’s like coming home, all happy memories.”  

Hayden, who will be teaching seventh and eighth-grade language arts this year, said that some teachers she had as a kid are still teaching at DMS, and now she has a chance to teach alongside them.

 “The room I’m in, my favorite English teacher ever was in my room,” she said of her beloved teacher Andrea Pearson who now works at Fort Walton Beach High School. “Getting her room is just that much more to me.”   

Hayden is also no newcomer to the teaching world. Having spent four years at Pryor Middle School in Shalimar, Hayden is eager to begin her fifth year teaching back in her Alma Mater.

“In Destin it’s still such a small community that being here, I will get to teach my friend’s kids, that is what I’m most excited about,” she said.

Hayden told The Log that her decision to teach English did not come the conventional way.

“I didn’t like to read until I was in college,” she said. “Honestly I think I just always had a good vibe because I’ve never had an English teacher I didn’t like. It started with a love to write, then having good English teachers.”

Now sitting in her room with road signs that read, “Yield to a good book,” and “One way to read,” it would seem that the tables have turned for the better.

“I think from this year’s reading list I’m most excited to read Animal Farm and Frankenstein,” said Hayden when asked which books are her favorite. “Frankenstein is the book I think they’re going to be most excited about,” she said.

With just over a week to go before the kids return to classes, Hayden said she is just overwhelmed with anticipation.

“There’s so much in my head right now about getting started that I’m just taking it one day at a time,” she said. “I’m glad to be back and I feel like I’m coming home.”