WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Thank a Teacher This Week

May 4, 2016

When we moved to Macomb 5½ years ago, Jack was getting ready to start kindergarten and Lucy wasn't even walking yet. Now, I have a child at Edison and a kindergartener at Lincoln (who once she started walking never looked back). On National Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to thank all the Macomb teachers who have touched the lives of my children.

Both Jack and Lucy had the opportunity to attend McArthur. Having such a wonderful early childhood program in Macomb helped prepare both my children for kindergarten. Thank you to Jan Lindsay and Susan Lafary for creating positive learning environments for my children. You made my children see how fun learning can be.

Thank you Malissa Pryor and Nicole Protsman perfect kindergarten teachers for my children. I value what you have done for my children in setting a foundation for schooling in more ways than I can list. Thank you both for teaching them to read and to love learning. Mrs. Pryor was exactly what Jack needed as he started in a new school, and I think Lucy might not know what to do with herself this summer without seeing Mrs. Protsman every day. You are both remarkable teachers.

Thank you Michelle Parker for continuing to encourage a love for reading and learning in my son and making that transition from kindergarten to first grade a smooth one. I loved being able to be a guest reader in your class and see the joy on the students faces when we talked about books.

Thank you Kate Norburg for helping with the ups and downs of second grade. The binders you created helped Jack learn about organization, a skill that will be invaluable as he gets older. And, thank you Therese Trotochaud for being the best long-term substitute we could ask for. You gave the classroom a needed stability during that year.

Thank you Bess Thompson for a magical third grade. Your investment in students both inside and outside the classroom is amazing. The evening programs to help with math and seeing you at students’ sporting events shows your respect and concern for students as active citizens and people. I know I will see you on the ball field this summer and in years to come.

Jack was unsure about heading to a new school. As most of us know, a new adventure can be a little unnerving. Thank you Jill Jackson for making that transition a positive one. Jack loves Edison and 4th grade. He says that Mrs. Jackson is the best 4th grade teacher anyone could have and is always talking about how lucky he is. He’s done some wonderful projects throughout the year and has realized just how much he loves reading.

The classroom teachers in Macomb are incredible. Yet, with districts cutting back on anything “extra,” being in one that supports physical education and the arts throughout K-12 is a blessing. Both my children have had the pleasure of learning from talented and dedicated “specials” teachers.

Thank you Paula Blythe and Cathy Lescher. As a former high school English teacher, instilling in my children the importance of libraries and books is essential to learning. The fact that they come home excited to read the books they get to check out of their school libraries shows the strong investment in literacy in our community.

Thank you Damaris Blansfield, Tanner Scott, Briana Rexroat, and Tanner Horrell for making physical education fun and rewarding. My children both love PE class and are always coming home and talking about the cool new games they’ve played or sports they’ve learned. The opportunities at school and with physical education fieldtrips show my children a variety of ways to be physically active.

In the last week of the Young Artists Series at West Central Illinois Art Center that features elementary and middle school students, thank you Luanne Sanners and Mary Ann Carlson for all your work encouraging my children to be artists. Jack and Lucy bring home wonderful, creative projects. Displaying their work in a public gallery space is just another way to encourage the arts and our students.

Thank you so much Diana Kurasz and Erin Stegall. As music teachers you are both absolutely incredible. My children have a strong foundation in music and love the chance to learn about music in so many exciting ways. When so many schools cut funding for music and art, having a strong music program in our district is a true gift. Finding such dedicated teachers to foster a love for music in our children is something we should not take for granted.

I must also thank Donna Locke and Kevin Nichols for being Lucy and Jack’s music teachers outside of school. Lucy loves playing piano with Ms. Donna and Jack is becoming a better drummer and musician from what he learned from Mr. Nichols. The work you have both done with our children supports their continued learning.

There are so many other teachers I could thank. Even though these are the teachers that have spent the most time so far being part of Jack and Lucy’s schooling journeys, I know all the teachers and administrators in the Macomb School District have made an impact on the positive education experiences of my children and all the children in our community. On this week of teacher appreciation, I encourage everyone to take a little time and thank those teachers in our community who are working with our children and young adults to make them strong learners and citizens.

Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University.

The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University or Tri States Public Radio.  Diverse viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged.