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In Your Words

What is the best part of your school day?

It’s when I’m standing outside my room talking to students as they travel to their classes. It’s my time to relax and recharge as I catch up on their lives, notice new outfits and hairstyles, and share jokes. I didn’t think it made much of an impact on the students until I was absent a few days last year. When I returned, a girl whose locker was near my room told me, “I missed you. I didn’t get my daily compliment.” Then I realized I could make it the best part of a student’s day, too.
Linda Goodwin, English Teacher, Celina, Ohio

The best part of my day is watching the lightbulb go on when students “get it” for the first time. Like the time Sean, a student of mine who was nearly failing, went on to win the school-wide Spanish poetry recitation contest. Those pride- filled moments, when I see students’ self-esteem rise as they achieve academic success for the first time, are always the best.
Scott Dunn, Spanish teacher, Simsbury, Connecticut, pictured with his student, Sean (seated).

During our Vocational Skills class, my special education students deliver copies of the San Antonio Express-News to classes who have ordered them through the “Newspapers in Education” program. They practice greeting teachers and fellow students, entering a room quietly, and placing items in the designated area. The best part is that everyone gets to know my students by name. I love watching the interaction.
Emily R. Shierk, Special Education Teacher, San Antonio, Texas

The best part of my day is when a child who is acting out re-channels his or her anger and frustration into a hug. What a change in energy! Sometimes it takes a while to get there, but it’s worth it when it finally happens.
Bonnie Ludwig, Kindergarten Teacher, Ellicott City, Maryland

I always have a few students who make a point to stop into my room to say “hi.” Sometimes they talk about silly things like weekend plans or their prom dresses. Other times the conversations are about family, money, or school problems. It’s rewarding to know I’ve connected with the students and that they feel comfortable coming to me on their free time.
Kendra Glaser, Art Teacher, Mt. Vernon, Indiana

Each morning we start off our day gathered as a whole school in our gymnasium. We call it “Good Morning Eisenhower,” and it’s organized by student council representatives from each grade. We sing songs together, broadcast birthdays, and celebrate the arts, learning, and our students’ achievements. Many parents join us so they can start their work day off on the right foot.
Kristy Ford, Second Grade Teacher, Norman, Oklahoma

Minutes after the end of eighth period, as soon as the sounds of clanging lockers and teenage chatter subside, I return to my desk, take a few deep breaths, and reflect on a day of teaching. Now and again, I jot down notes of what went well, and what should be tweaked. Just about that time, a head will pop through the doorway, and there’s one of my students wanting to talk about a book we’re reading. These moments really bring my day full circle.
Melissa Gentile, English teacher, Dover, New Jersey

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