It’s Helping Them to Help Themselves

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2007

It’s Helping Them to Help Themselves

Editor’s note: Former South Panola teacher Cheryl Beene was named Mississippi Teacher of the Year last week. She now teaches in Olive Branch. Following is an essay she submitted with her Teacher of the Year application. See related story on page B1.

As teachers we invest a great deal of our professional and personal lives in teaching the entire child, helping mold them into young adults with confidence, character, leadership, and integrity. We strive to become experts in guiding our students to experience and master concepts that will transfer to their everyday worlds.
The essence of education is not to stuff our students full of facts, but to help them discover their uniqueness, their talents, and their direction in life. I am extremely proud that I chose education as the focus of my life and that, as a teacher, I change the lives of every student I encounter.
Teachers find fulfillment when they awaken creative expression and learning in students as well as when they stretch themselves in pursuit of knowledge and expertise. Dedicated to making the world a better place through the lives of the students, teachers are hardworking professionals who exert energy, patience and stamina to get the job done. The concept of “it takes a village to raise a child” includes teachers as a vital link in the network of people who nurture and guide children to become successful adults. Teachers who love what they do never tire of seeing excitement and satisfaction on the faces of their students who have accomplished a hard-earned goal or experienced a job well done. Teachers live for the day when a former student seeks them out to share how they have used lessons from school in their everyday lives or work.
There aren’t many people who have more fun than I do at work each day. Even after 23 years, I still find it hard to go to sleep the night before the first day of school! The pleasure I gain from being in the classroom can be measured by the long-lasting friendships I have developed with my students and coworkers through the years. As a teacher I believe it is my responsibility to look beyond each child’s face and see inside his or her soul.
As a teacher I believe that I must have a special touch, a ready smile, and the willingness to help each individual student search for the gifts of knowledge and achievement. I’m proud to be a teacher and I cherish the many rewards of teaching. I know of no better way to help others than by teaching the pursuit of a quality education to impact the quality of life.

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