For teachers, the month of May is exciting in other ways – they've spent a year teaching, guiding, and shaping these young minds, and all their hard work has paid off. While their work is far from being over, they do get to take a step back and appreciate all the wins they had throughout the school year.
“The end of the year is like ending a chapter in a book,” said Andi Jones, a second-grade teacher at Lake View Elementary School. “It is time to look back and see the growth and success that each child has accomplished over the year.”
Jones knows this story well, as she has taught in Tuscaloosa County Schools for 16 years, with 10 of those at Lake View Elementary School. She decided to transfer there to teach in the school her own children attend – and in the community where she grew up (Jones attended Brookwood Elementary and Brookwood High School).
In the story of children’s educations, the early chapters transform their story line, and teachers are key characters. Through long school days, after school lesson preparation and one-on-one lessons, teachers build unique relationships with their students.
Jones looks at her job as more than just a teacher, but as a mentor to the people who’ll become everyone’s future. Each school year is a new opportunity, she says, to influence and leave her mark on a fresh mixture of young minds.
“I think teachers should influence students in a positive and loving way,” Jones said. “I think it is important for the students to know that they are in a safe environment. When a teacher believes in a student, the student learns to believe in themselves – and they’ll have the tools they need to be successful in life.”
Tuscaloosa’s great teachers, like Andi Jones, are already hard at work preparing their classrooms for a new group of students who will make up much of Tuscaloosa’s future.