A Chance to Say Thanks

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December 14, 2021

This is the third in a series of guest blogs by the 2021-22 Michigan Regional Teachers of the Year. Cheldora Haynes is a third-grade teacher at Martin G. Atkins Elementary School in Bridgeport-Spaulding Community Schools.

As we prepare to turn the calendar over to 2022 and approach the halfway mark of the school year, let’s take a moment to say thank you to those in our school community.

Thanks to the students who showed up and put forth their best effort all year.

Thanks to the parents for sending the very best they have.

Thanks to the teachers who worked over weekends, holidays and last summer diligently preparing for students.

Thanks to administrators and central office staff for making sure we had what we needed to teach our students. And thank you to our elected officials for being our voices and pushing policy that will positively impact the students in our community.

We truly appreciate the allocation of extra dollars for summer professional development, especially when planning for the year ahead. The professional book clubs, training on new equipment and coaching around our curriculum will prove invaluable even during the first weeks of the new calendar year. With the hectic, day-to-day sidelined, we can concentrate on family, self-care and how to improve our craft in the face of an ongoing pandemic and constant childhood trauma.

You may be thinking, “How are teachers even ready to think about 2022?”  

We look ahead because it's what we do. We will collaborate with our school and grade level teams to review data and other measures of performance and growth. We will implement what we’ve learned and continue to create welcoming spaces that promote growth opportunities for students, parents and other stakeholders while pushing (or pulling) the children we have birthed. We will continue to work with our English language learners and special needs students, and continue to close the achievement gap between the highest and disenfranchised students in our schools.

We will continue to make home visits and deliver meals and supplies even after our school is closed for the holidays. We will continue to take phone calls and text messages from parents to reassure them that their children are on the right track and will be OK. We will continue to challenge those high achievers by Zooming with them while they read to push them higher. We will continue to be passionate about and care for our students because that is what we do.

2022 is the opportunity to create potential and spark genius. And we will keep giving thanks for being able to help our students each day in the year ahead.