Teacher Appreciation Week
TINA L. SCOTT
Nationwide, Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated during the week of May 2 – 8. It is an opportunity to recognize educators for their hard work and dedication and to give them the “extra credit” they deserve, according to members of the Lincoln County Retired Educators’ Association (LCREA). Locally, the LCREA displayed signs of appreciation at schools in Merrill and Tomahawk, honoring educators and recognizing the lasting contributions they make in shaping our children: the future leaders of our country.
Some area parents also shared their appreciation for the teachers, who often go far above and beyond for the good of their students, as well.
“Susan Palecek is a fourth grade teacher at Kate Goodrich. She is more than just our child’s teacher though,” parent Sheena Goetsch said. “She’s been a friend, a confidant, a shoulder to cry on, a hug when there are bad days, and a parent when we were not able to be there during school hours. She has gone above and beyond to make sure all students understand each lesson and are comfortable moving forward to the next.”
“During virtual learning,” Goetsch said, “she was able to keep the lessons flowing and never skipped a beat. She made sure our child had the tools and resources needed at home during our two-week quarantine period, and even made sure to include her virtually on the holiday festivities when our daughter couldn’t be there physically, because she knew it was important to her.”
“We, as parents, were never concerned that our child was not getting what was needed during these difficult times,” she said. “If gold stars were given to teachers on how well they’ve done, Mrs. Palecek would take the cake!”
“Thank you, for all you’ve done and continue to do for our children. We appreciate you!” Goetsch said, speaking of her child’s teacher.
“After a stressful year of virtual school and watching the decline in my child’s mental health and academic success, we decided to transfer our child to St. John,” said Mrs. Floyd Smith of Merrill. “Mrs. Breitwisch not only welcomed our child with open arms, but she encouraged our child to know she can do anything she sets her mind to, even if she doesn’t know something. Our child is now enjoying school, has positive friendships, finally enjoys reading, and has substantially increased her scores on the testing. Thanks to Mrs. Breitwisch, we finally have our daughter back and will be forever grateful for the impact she’s made on our child’s life.”
Sabrina Wagner is another Merrill area parent. “Bridges Virtual Academy (BVA) is part of MAPS, and I’m super thankful for them!” she said. “My son’s teachers are all amazing and did really well, even for having many more students this year. We’ve always done virtual, but through another school.”
“My son, however, attended brick and mortar MAPS for two years recently,” Wagner said, “and when COVID-19 hit, we decided to go with BVA. It’s been a wonderful experience for our family, and the teachers are excellent, even with the added stress.”
A preschool parent wrote about Mrs. Sue Catlin at St. John Lutheran School in Merrill: “One would think doing virtual preschool would be a walk in the park; it’s definitely not for the faint at heart! I’m not sure how she is able to get multiple four- and five-year-olds to do work at the same time, but bless her heart! She tirelessly put together wonderful packets for our kids to continue to learn and always checked in to see how they were doing. We are so appreciative of all her hard work teaching our littles and providing that essential base leading into kindergarten. Mrs. Catlin will always hold a special place in our hearts, knowing how much care and consideration she puts into making sure our son is safe at school and able to participate in all school activities with the multiple food allergies he has. Our son was so happy when school started back up so he could see his favorite teacher again! I’d say she’s found a special place in his heart, too!”
Mrs. Smith shares her thoughts about her family’s experience with Theresa Smukowski at St. John. “I can’t even put into words how much our child enjoys Mrs. Smukowski,” Smith said. “She is so patient and encouraging. She makes a positive learning environment and sets the stage for the years to come after kindergarten. She shows our children that learning is fun!”
“Seeing our child come home from school excited because he learned something new, is absolutely heartwarming,” she said. “We didn’t have virtual school with Mrs. Smukowski, but given her exceptional teaching and organizational skills, I can’t imagine it being anything less than stellar!”
Whether children attend virtually or in person, with the help of parents or individual teachers, at the same school they attended prior or at a new school or in a new way this year, life with COVID-19 seems to have given many parents and families an even greater appreciation for their child’s teacher or teachers than ever before.
If you haven’t already, why not make a point of sharing your appreciation with your child’s teacher(s). Whether in words or deeds, they will appreciate your kindness.
The Lincoln County Retired Educators’ Association is a local chapter of the Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association. It is the goal of the organization to preserve public education and to support public school educators, while safeguarding retiree interests and engaging members in volunteerism. Meetings are held six times a year, with the next meeting being held via Zoom at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 17. Hans Breitenmoser will be the guest speaker, with Fair Maps being the topic of discussion.
All current and retired school employees are welcome to attend. For more information, or to receive a Zoom invitation, contact Mary Cottrell at 715-453-8679.