Most readers have likely seen the bumper sticker stating If you can read this, thank a teacher. Perhaps you've seen the poster, If there were no teachers, there would be no other professions.
No matter how one feels about either statement, there can be no doubt how much difference a good teacher can make in the lives of her students. While it is essential that teachers be able to impart the required information to students in their care, there is much more to life than being able to recite facts. That person who can inspire a love of learning in the children they teach rises to the rank of a great teacher.
Such is the case of Katie Halstead, Suffolk Public School's 2013 Teacher of the Year. Halstead, a second grade teacher at Elephant's Fork Elementary School. Halstead has a knack for turning boring things into fun. We are competing with DVDs and video games and everything they do - we have to compete with all those things.
She can make books come alive by making games and activities out of them. She relates the things students are learning to their everyday lives. Best of all, she shows her students how excited she is about the things they are learning.
Halstead, a ten-year veteran of teaching said she has always wanted to be a teacher. I started playing school when I was little. My grandmother was a teacher, my great aunt was a teacher, my great uncle was a teacher; I feel like it's in my blood.
In a news release, Elephant's Fork principal Andre Skinner cited Halstead's leadership, initiative, stamina, consistent conscientiousness and genuine commitment to the education of all her students.
On a personal note, Katie teaches where I was principal from 1991 - 1997. She embodies the type teacher I tried to hire to work with our students. I've had the opportunity to get to know her while substituting and volunteering at Elephant's Fork Elementary School. She is most deserving of this award.
Congratulations, Mrs. Halstead, on representing the best of the best.