Extraordinary Educators: Teacher Appreciation Stories

Read about teachers who go the extra mile for their students and colleagues every day.

Back in May, we asked teachers to enter our Teacher Appreciation giveaway by nominating a fellow teacher who inspired them as an educator. We received so many amazing stories from all over the country - spouses who worked together and drew inspiration from the other, daughters who became teachers to emulate their mothers, and newer teachers expressing gratitude for their mentors, just to name a few. We’re going to be sharing some of our favorite entries throughout the summer, beginning with the two below!

Inspiring Teachers

Our first story is from our Grand Prize Winner Kimberly Cobb, a special education teacher working with fifth- and sixth-graders in an economically disadvantaged district in Maine. She nominated Jessica Hartford, her fellow fifth-grade teacher, saying:

“Jess teaches her students in innovative ways, she uses hands-on activities to help her students learn. She takes them fly fishing every year, takes them outside to teach them about the kinds of trees and their attributes, and does many of her science lessons with hands-on activities. She takes new teachers on her grade level under her wing and guides them throughout the year to help them learn best ways to teach difficult curriculum, problem-solving for classroom behavior management, and other things to help them have a smooth year. She is a leader among teachers. She is always advocating for the environment with her students to give them the information they need to understand human impact on the environment. Most importantly, Jess always advocates for her students and what is best for them first and foremost.”

It’s amazing to see what committed teachers can do, even with limited resources at their disposal. Congratulations to Kim and Jessica, who each received an Amazon gift card and 1-year membership to TeacherVision.

Our second entry comes from Anne Faulks, a seventh-grade language arts teacher in Tennessee who calls her profession “a challenging joy.” She nominated her school’s band teacher, Angela Sanders.

“Mrs. Sanders is a phenomenal teacher. She takes students from very limited music and band knowledge to sounding like professional musicians. Her patience is remarkable! One year, her jazz band students made a CD. I had my brother, someone who knows and likes jazz, to listen to the CD. He asked about the band. He was surprised to know that the band was composed of only middle school musicians.

For our school Veterans Day program, we had the Navy band perform. The Navy band moved from our area and were not able to perform for our recognition program. Mrs. Sanders stepped in, trained students by teaching them the service anthems, and had them play during all three school lunch periods. Her students performed as well as the Navy Band. They also played other pieces of music that was of interest to the veterans as well as the students. Visiting veteran guests, myself included, marveled at their talent and skill at playing the various service anthems. Band students were dressed in patriotic tee shirts that matched the theme of the program. Some of the visiting guests stayed after the lunch periods and the program ended just to continue to enjoy the sounds of the Appling School Band.

Mrs. Sanders also participates as a member of the Bartlett Community Band. She encourages her students to audition. Many have joined the band and perform with her. Her face expresses pride as she performs along with her current and former students. She delights in her students’ successes. Many have gone on to receive scholarships to college and to become music/band teachers themselves. I cannot say enough good things about Mrs. Sanders. She is just a phenomenal teacher who loves and enjoys what she does with all of her being!”

By sharing Mrs. Sanders’ exceptional work as a music teacher, Anne demonstrated perfectly why arts education is so crucial for many students. Check back next week for our next round of teacher appreciation stories!

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