By: Emily Papleux
Teachers are the most important part of our education as young, maturing adolescents. They prepare us for whatever endeavors we may encounter after our high school days, and the outside world that is waiting for us when we graduate. We may think they just grade papers or hand out packets, but they do so much more than that. They spend most of their time and energy making sure all students keep up with lessons, and work overtime so students can stay with them after school. It’s important to create a connection with them, professionally, or even personally.
Ms. Stewart, a chemistry teacher for upperclassman, graduated from UGA with a Masters in Science Education, and for her teaching degree, she studied at Georgia State. She first discovered her passion for teaching when she was tutoring children at local schools while she was working in a lab. “But then I would wake up at the same time to go tutor and it didn’t feel nearly as much as a burden.” She realized she was more excited to go teach the kids than to go to her lab, as a scientist. She therefore uncovered the fact that teaching was her calling. Her favorite part about being in this profession is socializing and collaborating with new individuals, and watching as her students evolve, learn, and mature throughout the years as they grow and achieve their goals. Her three pieces of advice for all students is:
- Make sure what you’re doing is something you are passionate about.
- Work hard, slacking off and procrastinating gets you nowhere, even though we hate to admit we all do.
- Nothing is ever easy. You wake up most days not wanting to crawl out of your warm covers, but you have to maintain a balance and put in the effort to get motivated.
Ms. Tunstall, a 9th grade literature teacher, wasn’t always set out to be a fantastic teacher she is today. Instead, she was determined to be anything other than a teacher. Despite liking english, she was driven to be a nurse and graduate from a medical school. Convinced that this was her life’s path, she felt like that was an area she would succeed most in.“When people ask me what I want to be I said I don’t know, but I know for a fact that I don’t want to be a teacher.” She remembers saying. Her mother was a teacher, and growing up, she realized how hard a teachers life was, as every sunday night her mother was away at work, and every monday and most weekdays she was grading papers. She was intimidated by how hard her mother worked, and how she prioritized her students, and decided she never wanted that experience in her life. Later she realized science was not her strong suit, and turned to literary english, a subject she was always drawn to from the beginning. She then decided that was where she belonged, and where she could make the biggest impact.
Striving to make her classroom an enjoyable working place, bringing a good attitude every class period and getting kids motivated is very important to her. She tries to be easy-going and fun, and to not present herself as uptight, making both the students and herself feel more comfortable, taking pleasure in making lessons more relatable and fun to discuss. For example, the sexual innuendos students might find funny in Shakespeare, or having fun with disney pixar stories relating to their topic. She wants her students to know that she is always there for them if they need a person to confide in, and her door is always open for anyone. Her main goal is to have her students always working on something. Even though a student may be thriving in her class, another subject may seem more difficult to them. There is always room for improvement.
Some things you might not know about Ms. Tunstall, is that she absolutely adores singing. Starting when she was in a choir and influenced by her mom who sang in church as well. From choir to whatever comes over the radio, she’ll let her voice loose and sing to the melody.
Mr. Owens, whom you may know, is one of the main drama teachers in our school. He’s been teaching at North Springs for about eight years now, and so far his favorite thing is to see his students smile. When a bright smile shines from the face of a student as they come up to him with an idea, and how he sees those lightbulbs go off, gives him a sense of accomplishment and success. He teaches drama in a way that every student feels welcomed and comfortable to let their talents be shown and participate in class. Like Ms. Tunstall, he wanted to be everything but a teacher. What started as a temporary job, turned into his passion. During his second to sixth year here, and after many successes and failures, he realized he was meant to help kids. Watching as his students grow over the years and thrive is the most rewarding gift a teacher can receive.
The main goal all these teachers have in common is to help their students be the best versions of themselves. Teachers help us in a way no other adult can. They drain every last bit of energy they have into making sure we succeed. It’s important that we, as students, connect with them, and help each other, so that we may all succeed. We all should appreciate teachers for everything they have done for us, and everything they continue to do.