Moms at home and at school
TEACHERS ARE MOTHERS TO MANY Kindergarten teacher Eleanor Umphlett sits on the floor in her classroom with her students and posters on which the children answered the question, "What do you like most about your Mom?" Umphlett has been a teacher for 19 years. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
May 12, 2002
Rebekah Cagle said, "They love you no matter what."
Breanna Jones said, "They give you a stuffed animal to sleep with when you are scared."
Cannon Winkler said, "They keep you safe."
Pearson Kelly said, "I like it when Mom spends time with me."
These were just a few of the responses kindergarten teacher Eleanor Umphlett got this week when she asked her class, "What do you like most about your Mom?"
For the Poplar Springs Elementary teacher of 19 years, Mother's Day is special in many ways not only because she is the mother of two sons, but also because she is the mother to 21 "little angels" on a daily basis.
Not too far away at West Lauderdale Elementary, second generation teacher Nancy Dallas is mothering and teaching 25 kindergarten students.
Dallas' mother and sister are also teachers.
For both of these woman, whose jobs involve shaping young minds, a love for children is what keeps them going to work each day.
Umphlett said she tries to establish boundaries in the beginning of the school year.
Establishing a routine just like parents do at home is also important.
Dallas said her goal is to help children develop a love for school.
Both teachers said some children have a difficult time being away from their parents.
Just as in the home, discipline and self esteem are important issues in the classroom.
Dallas, a teacher for 10 years and a mother of four children ages 13 to 29, has developed a philosophy.
Umphlett says she bonds with her students as a new mother bonds with her baby.
Dallas adds, "I think we're momas, but we're also nurses, we're negotiators and referees."