Area schools honor educators during Teacher Appreciation Week

By BRIANA H. WILSON | Special to the Reporter

This year, Teacher Appreciation Week looked a bit different for Shelby County educators and those throughout the United States. Instead of getting hugs from students and participating in planned school activities, teachers are working from home and doing their best to help their students continue learning and growing.

Despite COVID-19, several schools in the county still found a way to show appreciation for their teachers during the week of May 4. Teachers at Elvin Hill Elementary School, Calera Middle School and several other schools throughout the county were surprised with gestures of gratitude from their administrators.

Jane Smith, assistant principal at Elvin Hill, said each teacher and staff member was honored with a yard sign that read ‘A difference maker lives here,’ a T-shirt that says ‘A difference maker’ and a cookie.

Smith, Elvin Hill Principal Courtney Madison and Math Coach Misty Howard delivered the goodies to about 65 teachers and staff. It took them two days to deliver each gift as they traveled to places like Leeds, Centreville, Birmingham and Chilton County in addition to driving throughout Shelby County.

“With the teachers who were at home, it was great to be able to check on them, see them and talk to them at a 6-foot distance, of course,” Smith said. “They were so excited and some couldn’t believe we drove that far to see them.”

Madison said it was important to her to still do something special for Elvin Hill teachers.

“Right now, teachers are working just as hard as they would if they were still coming to school every day,” Madison said. “We didn’t want their hard work to go unnoticed.”

About 75 instructional staff members at Calera Middle also received a yard sign and a goody bag, said principal Desaree Jackson. Jackson and her team of administrators traveled to places like Pell City, Tuscaloosa and Leeds to deliver the packages to teachers.

“We asked them to post a picture with their sign or eating one of the snacks in their goody bag,” Jackson said.

Each day during Teacher Appreciation Week, the teachers were encouraged to participate in fun activities and scavenger hunts with their families. Jackson said the scavenger hunt was just another opportunity for the teachers to do something fun with their families.

“This was really just a good way to show our support and appreciation for our teachers who are working so hard to continue educating students,” Jackson said.