Hey Teachers-I See You Being Awesome
submitted by Elizabeth Grimes Reaves
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to venture into several elementary schools across the county. While they are different, one thing was a constant- the atmosphere: halls filled with colorful, inspiring bulletin boards and murals; happy students, and positive attitudes. Teachers- I know y’all are responsible for all of the above!
I see your dedication and the time you put in creating a fun, creative, learning environment! I see the hours of afterschool and weekend work you’ve put in updating those bulletin boards; writing grants, lining up artists to create amazing murals; I see the love of teaching these children shining in your eyes. To some, those bulletin boards are just pretty- to those of us who have a relationship with an educator- those bulletin boards represent the sacrifice, stress, and dedication to student success. Any building can be a school- but it’s the teachers and staff going the extra mile, adding color and cheer, that makes the building a place where students thrive- and they deserve a round of applause!
To those who go beyond the basic job description, often buying supplies with personal funds and putting their family on the back burner to create this exceptional environment, I see you changing the world! I know you don’t get the recognition you deserve, but please keep doing what you’re doing- I see you, keep being awesome, going above and beyond every single day!
As I walked the halls, all bright, welcoming and encouraging, I had flashbacks to my childhood- My mom is an educator- according to her students, she’s “a book pusher” to be precise, in adult circles, she’s most often referred to as a librarian. As I passed an especially cheerful, springtime bulletin board with intricate laminated cut outs, perfectly spaced letters, and matching trim, I remembered the nights spent helping cut out and prep school bulletin boards as mom did purchase orders, lesson plans, etc. I recalled the afternoons being the last one in carpool, or going to a family members house when mom needed to work late rearranging décor in her library to reflect the new month’s learning activities, or attend meetings- there were many days we wouldn’t see mom until bedtime.
Growing up the child of an educator, a trip to Montgomery or Prattville always meant a stop by the Turtle Shell, or other school supply store to “grab a few things”; family vacations always included some type of detour related to teaching- (going to the beach- pit stop by the Battleship in Mobile to get photos and take a tour- it could be a potential field trip location for AR reading champs next year!) There is SO more to teaching than ABCs, 123s, and grading papers 8am- 3pm, 180 days a year!
We are fortunate in Wilcox County to have an abundance of educators in our school system who wake up each day smiling and ready to go the extra mile for their students. Those teachers who live and breathe teaching- working to keep it fresh, fun, creative, and trying to keep students actively engaged-they deserve a national holiday, HUGE pay raise, and longer summer vacation! Being the child of an educator was hard enough, I cannot fathom the stressfulness and hardships that come with being an educator in today’s world.
To the educators out there who go the distance, creating upbeat learning environments, keeping smiles on their faces through the stress of paperwork and test scores, on top of the chaos outside the school grounds, Y’all are the real heroes! Thank you for all you do! I see you! Your work and dedication to the students shows! Keep on being awesome- spring break is around the corner, and summer break is near! The trips down memory lane while walking the halls of Wilcox Public Schools also reminded me I should probably offer to help mom get those spring bulletin boards up.