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School Daze

6 May ’08

At work, we’re gearing up for a kids’ talent show this summer to raise awareness and support for the agency and the children we serve. So, we’re busy e-mailing all the metro Atlanta schools to let them know about it so they can get the word out to the students and parents before school lets out for the year. Today I tackled Gwinnett County, and I stumbled across the website for my elementary school, Brookwood. And looking over the list of faculty, it was just so amazing to see SO many of the same teachers I grew up with still teaching at Brookwood. My third grade teacher is now the Assistant Principal, and the teacher that we would partner up with to watch Reading Rainbow and go on field trips with is now the Principal. A lot of the parapros (teacher’s aides) are now teachers, too.

I fired off an email to the principal and assistant principal… I’m sure they’ll remember me, especially considering that my mom taught at Brookwood for…hmm, at least 15 or 20 years. The teachers there are some of her best friends…they’ve known my mom almost as long as I have, and they are just such nice people. Truly wonderful, really the epitome of what an elementary school teacher should be. The enthusiasm, the gentleness, the ability to make learning fun. Looking back, I feel so lucky to have had such a great start to the world of education…I felt supported, allowed to explore, and most of all, I felt cared about. And not just cuz my mommy was a teacher…the other teachers genuinely cared about their students. We were their kids, too. They spent 5 days a week with us, and even more than the classroom lessons, I remember learning about how to be a good person.

I lucked out and had some awesome teachers that took the time to go over the intricacies of human dynamics. We learned how to work together, how to overlook our friends’ faults, how to respect everyone’s differences. These lessons were an active part of the daily classroom experience. We were encouraged to help each other, to “play nice”…when issues came up with kids being teased or feeling left out, they were addressed and made right.

I just hope my own kids get an experience as great as I did at school. There are SO many horror stories about apathetic or unethical teachers, extreme bullying, etc. these days. But…looking at the list of teachers at Brookwood and seeing so many of the teachers I came to know and love still spreading their special magic through the classrooms… I have some hope that there are still some great schools out there.

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