“Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best.” This quote from Horace Mann is especially appropriate as we put the new school year in perspective by sharing the observations of a few of our teachers in their very own words:
• “Nothing compares to the excitement and energy of sixth-grade students during their first few weeks of middle school. I love being a part of this new adventure for them and I know the relationships we establish now will set us up to do great things this year.” — Sean Brosig, North Naples Middle School
• “All of the wonderful excitement and anticipation that I felt getting my classroom ready for my third graders was matched when I saw the 17 eager faces that greeted me. As I shared tidbits of what is to come this year, I loved hearing the oohs and ahhs that I know translate to ‘I can’t wait to learn about that!’” — Sheila Buckner, Laurel Oak Elementary School
• “The beginning of this year has been very uplifting. I have been able to witness students’ personal and academic growth that occurred over the summer, as well as their happiness and excitement to be back. I enjoyed making new connections with them. The successes we have celebrated already tell me that this year will be an ‘A’ year!” — Lisa Garby, Manatee Middle School
• “This marks the beginning of my 25th year of teaching in Immokalee and it’s been just as exciting as ever. I know that after the first weeks I’ve laid a good foundation of what students can expect from my program. This gives the students a sense of comfort which helps them to relax and learn more effectively.” — Jaime Hernandez, Immokalee Technical Center
• “Amidst the busyness the start of school brings, I am always reminded of how precious and wonderful our children are. To see my kids’ hopeful enthusiasm and eagerness to learn encourages me to rededicate myself to teach them to the best of my ability.” — Jean Lorenz, Naples High School
Finally, Elizabeth Braren of Tommie Barfield Elementary School supports the home-away-from-home theory: “As eager and enthusiastic children with wide-eyed expressions and joyous smiles were welcomed back to school it seemed more like a family reunion!”
We’ll share a few more first-hand observations with you next week.
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Joe Landon is the executive director of the Communications Services department for the Collier County School District.