Appreciation for teachers

By Staff
Kim West
In the working world I have a lot of respect for people in the medical field or military service, but I respect teachers the most.
When I look back on my school days, I'll never forget learning how to square dance in Mr. Townsend's fifth-grade social studies class or going on a fourth-grade field trip with Mrs. Lovell. I'll always remember getting chewed out by one of my coaches in junior high school because even though I didn't think so at the time, that sit-down with Mrs. Lewis taught me how to be a better team player.
I had a lot of good teachers, but my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Preston, made the biggest difference because I think my second-grade teacher thought there was something wrong with me and even wrote letters to my mom detailing my shortcomings. Mrs. Preston made school fun and showed me that a teacher could also be my friend.
In an effort to recognize local teachers, the There's A Way foundation presents an annual Outstanding Teacher Award at each of the 10 schools in Franklin County. Each winner is selected by a vote of his or her fellow teachers and receives a handcrafted wooden bowl by Phil Campbell's David Lupton and a $500 check.
Since 2001, the program has awarded 102 teachers, including this year's recipients: Bonnie Manley and Susan Thompson of Belgreen, Leann Trapp of East Franklin, Linda Smith and Donna Wells of Phil Campbell, Lori Harris and Amanda Ledbetter of Red Bay, Tonyca Dill of Vina, Vickie Farris and Doris Holderby of Tharptown, Elaine Fuller of West Elementary, Michael McCanless of Russellville Middle School and Susette Posey of Russellville High School.
My older sister is a science teacher at a high school in Madison, and I've seen how much effort, patience and personal funds it takes to reach kids who don't always want to be taught. Thanks to parent-teacher meetings, grading and school duties such as chaperoning and lunchroom duty, she works 50-60 hours per week with a 20-minute lunch break and constantly worries about how to meet the syllabus requirements while making class more interesting.
Haim G. Ginott said, "Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task."
I don't know these teachers personally, but I'd like to thank them for going the extra mile to make a positive impact.

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