For Teachers by Teachers: Words of Wisdom from your TOYs

Dear Fellow Educators: Words of Wisdom from GMSD’s Three Teachers of the Year

Our three GMSD Teachers of the Year (Elementary, Middle, and High School) were honored at March’s School Board Meeting. Corrine Martin, Sue Lynn, and Victoria Jordan are masters of their craft. After selection for the District award, these ladies were also submitted as our nominees for the Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Victoria Jordan, our High School Teacher of the Year, was selected as the Regional HS Teacher of the Year Award for the State!

From left to right; Corrie Martin, Victoria Jordan, and Sue Lynn.

An arduous and daunting task, the packet for nominees is lengthy and full of philosophical questions. One section of the ten-part application includes a space for these teachers to include a message they “would like to share with fellow educators”. Please read the wonderful words of these three outstanding GMSD professionals.

Sue Lynn, 1st Grade Teacher, Farmington Elementary School

Dear Fellow Educators,

You are amazing. Only the best of the best could become the teachers of all. Teachers of doctors and lawyers. Teachers of writers and illustrators. Teachers of mechanics and chefs. Teachers of builders and dreamers. Teachers of legislators. You are the foundation that allows our civilization to survive and grow. You give promise to the future.

Take pride in your profession and find your voice. Speak up for what you know are best practices for our children. You are each child’s most valuable resource and they are counting on you to do what is best for them, each and every day. Have faith in your good judgment, in your knowledge of your students, in your professional opinion. You of all people know that one size does not fit all. In a classroom of 24 learners there are 24 different sizes.

Speak up for a return to a shared responsibility by all stakeholders in the success of each child. Schools should not be blamed for all that is happening in the life of a child. There are so many other influences than the hours spent in a school building. Continue to educate parents how to assist in their child’s learning plan. Continue to educate local business leaders in ways that they can help support our schools both financially and through volunteer hours. Continue to educate our legislators on what it is really like in a classroom and demand that educational decisions be based on the feedback and input of educational professionals currently teaching in our classrooms.

Seek the support of your colleagues. Share successes. Share failures. Learn from one another. You are not alone.

Finally, set limits and make time for the things in life that bring you comfort—outside of the school building. Only if you nurture yourselves will you be able to nurture your students in the most effective way possible. We talk so much about how we can educate the whole child. It is time that we talk more about how we can positively impact the whole teacher—the teacher as a person in the classroom and out of the classroom.

You are amazing. You are loved.

With admiration,
Sue Barnard Lynn, Fellow Educator

Corrine Martin, 8th Grade Teacher, Riverdale Elementary School
Squeeze every moment of joy out of this life. Do it each day you enter your classroom. Encourage your students to appreciate each day as a gift and to give it their all. In everything you do, do it to the best of your ability. When something goes wrong, laugh if you can, then breathe, and reboot. Remember that it all boils down to helping our students learn to be critical thinkers. At the end of the day, if you have helped your students grow deeper in their understanding, you have done your job.

Victoria Jordan, Chemistry Teacher, Houston High School
My message for fellow educators is… realize teaching should not just be what you do but what you strive to become better at every day! There are four walls around a classroom but those walls should never trap your teaching. Teaching gives us the opportunity to be a hero every single day. By amply preparing a platform for young people to receive intrinsic and extrinsic rewards either academically or personally, we win! We seek the students’ attention in our classrooms while they are just seeking our support. As the adult, I find it our jobs to provide that support without question. The support should be personal, effective, and purposeful. We have a job where you cannot wish for it, you must work for it.

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