Thanking our educators

Published 10:55 am Monday, November 21, 2022

By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer

Talking to most people, almost everyone I know can pinpoint a teacher who had a long-lasting impact on them. Whether it be a lecture they have carried with them into their adulthood or a project that made a subject or concept click into place—our educators can be traced back to some of our core foundational life lessons and interests.

I know personally, without my many excellent English teachers I would not look at books with the same analytical frame I do now and enjoy it. Without some of my amazing math teachers, I could have easily developed a deep-rooted hatred for statistics and trigonometry. Cultivating and empowering our children holds such a significant weight that our educators should not be overlooked or taken for granted.

Recently, Principal Kim Kiel of Pelham High School was named the District 5 Alabama High School Principal of the Year. Nominated alongside fellow principals in the area including Shelby, Jefferson, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties, Kiel was honored with the award. Many crediting her dedication to her job and the children, her leadership skills and her ability to create a family-oriented culture as to why she was given the title.

Education doesn’t just start and stop within the confines of a school. Libraries also play a large role in continuing to foster a love of reading and knowledge-seeking in children as well. This impact that public libraries can have on kids is why it’s important to spotlight and uplift them and their librarians as much as possible—which Shelby County does a fantastic job at.

Rep. Corely Ellis recently gave a community service grant to the Columbiana Public Library to refurbish its children’s reading area. If Ellis had not frequented the library, which he does often as his son is an avid reader, he might not have noticed that the area needed some updates. However, after seeing the librarians fighting to put stuffing back in a beanbag, he saw his call to action.

“He has been an absolute blessing to the library, not just now, but in the past,” Jennifer Combs, director of the library, said. “We are blessed to have someone in the community that cares enough to look in on us.”

At the end of the day, having a community that sees the value in our educators who teach kids the importance of developing their curiosity for learning is priceless. Without our community’s educators, many children would be unable to find the power in reading, math, science or history. Many would not be able to pinpoint the exact moment they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. We should uplift our educators as much as they uplift our children.

We all were once children who went to school every day, looking forward to one class because of one teacher or one subject or one experiment that we knew would take place that day. Even if you might have hated certain aspects of school, I believe many can find one lesson that guided them to the path they are on now, therefore reinforcing how a good teacher can be life-changing.

These lessons and valuable memories are why it’s important to honor our educators and shout them out whenever we can. They do so much for our county and our world, many times without a “thanks.” So, as we head into a season of thankfulness, remember to extend gratitude to those who helped get you to where you are now, and those who are doing the same for our future generations.