MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Myrtle Beach charter school teacher hopes to take the title of 2016 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.
Lauren Traynham, who is one of five finalists for the South Carolina Public Charter School District, doesn't have a typical classroom. However, she is not a typical teacher.
The educators said she has created a learning environment for her students that inspires out-of-the box creative thinking.
There are no traditional desks in Traynham's classroom at Coastal Leadership Academy. Instead, soft, black, cushy bean bag chairs line the round tables.
She credited a relaxed classroom with promoting discussion and inspiring thinkers and self-motivators.
"They can go to Google and find anything they want to," Traynham said. "So, for me, I want to teach them through building relationships (and) through challenging them with critical and creative thinking."
The tuition-free public charter school is the only project-based learning high school in Horry County. That means the curriculum is all about real world applications and technology, and all South Carolina curriculum is used.
"Since society is changing and the needs of society is changing, we have to adapt that to the classroom," Traynham said. "That's what I am trying to do and that's what I think we need to be doing."
Traynham admitted she never though she would be a top-five finalist in a district with 32 schools and 19,000 students because of the number of great teachers. She planned to take the experience and use it to inspire others.
The teacher will travel to Columbia this week for the final interview round. If she wins, she will advance to the state competition.