Valdosta Daily Times

School News

May 5, 2014

Here's to the Teacher (a note from Superintendent Barge for Teachers Appreciation Week)

- — Here's to the Teacher  

Here's to the teacher rising at 4:00 a.m. to tend to the needs of her own family prior to leaving home for her school.

 

Here's to the teacher who arrives at school by 6:00 a.m. to ready her classroom for the day's lessons.

 

Here's to the teacher who is at his duty station every morning by 7:00 to monitor student behavior as students begin arriving on the buses, but the school day doesn't start until 8:00 a.m.

 

Here's to the teacher who used his own money to buy some new clothes for the child who has worn the same outfit for the last three days; other children are beginning to taunt that child for his smell.

 

Here's to the teacher who arrives at school an hour early every day to tutor students who are struggling to keep up the pace in the regular class -- and receives no extra pay.

 

Here's to the teacher who broke up a fight between two boys twice her size during the morning breakfast.

 

Here's to the lunchroom workers who arrived early to prepare breakfast for the majority of students in the school whose only meals that day will be the free breakfast and lunch they receive at school.

 

Here's to the kindergarten teacher who miraculously teaches 32 five year-olds for seven hours a day without assistance because budget cuts eliminated her paraprofessional.

 

Here's to the teacher who wipes the noses and tends to the cuts and scrapes of her students.

 

Here's to the teacher who cleans up after her sick student.

 

Here's to the teacher who is daily faced with the challenge of meeting the academic needs of five gifted children, five children with individualized education plans, five students who speak little to no English, and 10 average students all in the same class period.

 

Here's to the rural high school math teacher, or English, or science, or social studies, who must teach every subject to every child in the school because the school is so small they only earn one teacher per content field.

 

Here's to the teacher who endures the verbal abuse of a parent because his child didn't pass the teacher's class.

 

Here's to the teacher who endures the verbal abuse of a parent because his child made a 93 on the test and not a 100.

 

Here's to the assistant principal who takes a loaded handgun from a student who says the only reason he brought the gun to school was to protect himself from another child who threatened to stab him.

 

Here's to the same assistant principal who then takes a six-inch hunting knife off the child who threatened the one with the gun.

 

Here's to the teacher who lends a caring ear to a young girl who tearfully confides in her that she is pregnant and is afraid her father will disown her when he finds out.

 

Here's to the teacher who reads in a student's journal of the abuse she is enduring at the hands of her stepfather.

 

Here's to the teacher who pays for the eyeglasses for her student because her family can't afford them.

 

Here's to the teacher who spends hundreds of dollars of her own money supplying her classroom because budget cuts have eliminated her supply money.

 

Here's to the teacher who eats lunch standing up while performing lunch duty.

 

Here's to the principal who oversees the evacuation of her building due to a bomb threat.

 

Here's to the teacher who peers into the bloodshot, vacant eyes of his student who is strung out on drugs and strives to spark an interest in Geometry.

 

Here's to the same teacher who then deals with the intoxicated parent of the same child.

 

Here's to the assistant principal whose life is threatened because he won't let a child get into a car with an intoxicated parent who came to school to pick up his child.

 

Here's to the teacher who is caught in the middle of a custody dispute between parents over who has the right to information.

 

Here's to the teacher who is slapped and spit on every day by the severely disabled children she teaches.

 

Here's to the teacher who changes the diapers of her severely disabled children every day.

 

Here's to the teacher who catheterizes her profoundly disabled student every day.

 

Here's to the teacher who tends to her unconscious student who has had a seizure in her classroom due to a previously unknown medical condition.

 

Here's to the teacher who performs routine lice-checks on her students.

 

Here's to the teacher who drives a child home from school after a basketball game because his father won't pick him up.

 

Here's to the teachers of the deaf and blind.

 

Here's to the teacher who strives daily to break through the vacant stares and walls built by the child who spends most of her time at home locked in a room with boarded up windows and no food.

 

Here's to the counselor who comforts the child who just lost both of her parents in an accident.

 

Here's to the teacher who, in spite of all these challenges, must ensure that; all children are reading on grade level; that she is differentiating instruction to meet the needs of the special needs, gifted, English language learners and average learners all in the same class period; and, that he is trained and teaching the standards properly, and is making the expected growth every year.

 

Here's to the teacher who, after arriving home, prepares dinner for her family, cleans up from dinner, and gets her children to bed, before spending two hours grading papers only to fall into bed by 11:00 that night, if she is lucky, and then have the alarm go off at 4:00 the next morning to start all over again.

 

Here's to the teacher who is then openly harangued and criticized regularly in the public eye for not being successful with every child in his class.

 

Here's to the teachers of Georgia who have faced each of these challenges head-on and still miraculously managed to raise the level of student achievement in the state of Georgia to some of its highest marks ever.

 

Currently, the state of Georgia ranks higher nationally than it ever has in state history in SAT scores, ACT scores, and continues to see the number of students passing Advanced Placement exams increase; and we are graduating more seniors with some of the highest expectations in the nation to earn a high school diploma!

 

In 2012, Georgia was the only state in the nation to raise student achievement on every national test administered consistently across the U.S.

 

Currently, Georgia ranks:

 

5th in the nation in achievement gains in 4th grade reading as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

 

5th in the nation in closing the achievement gap in 8th grade math for children of poverty.

 

9th nationally in students passing Advanced Placement exams (per 100 students).

 

5th nationally in 10-year growth of students passing AP exams.

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