Authored by Dean Julius (and various 7th graders)
If the past two years have taught me anything, it’s that teaching was never easy, and a global pandemic only served to make the challenges of this career even more daunting. Trying to make deep, meaningful connections with twelve & thirteen-year-olds behind the veil of a Zoom or Google Meet screen is equivalent to betting on early investments in “a unicorn” startup company. Which is to say, one rarely picks the right startup company, and I think secondary education met her match when she tried to wrestle with virtual learning. And though we’re not fully out of the woods yet, I’m grateful we’ve all come this far as best we could.
What has buoyed me in these rough waters were the little kindnesses from students and colleagues. A thank you note here or a comment by a student there. A Christmas gift. An email from a now high schooler, post-peak pandemic to let me know that they missed seeing me in person and having my class now that they’ve moved across the crosswalk. Which is one reason why I was inspired to begin this “Attitudes of Gratitude” blog series. I wanted to give students a chance to publicly express themselves and their gratitude for their teachers. This month, we get to hear from the seventh graders and their appreciation for the seventh grade team. I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed reading their comments and writing this blog!
“I appreciate Mr. Goldsbury very much because his class is fun, and he makes a lot of jokes that are funny and keep his class entertaining. When we are learning things, he always finds a way to make it enjoyable. And I’m excited to dissect pigs!
I also appreciate Coach Spann because I talk to her about my life problems, and she always listens. She is fun to be around, and she lets us play in the gym sometimes during Study Hall if our work is done. She’s so nice and funny”
“I like Mrs. King because she is always trying to make us feel happy. I also like how she is a new teacher because, since she is new, we can tell her stuff about the school. I also like how she gives us homework passes because some students have a hard time with homework and that helps.”
“Mr. Julius is very fun. He makes me like creating stories. He also asks us questions of the day which make my day a bit not boring. Mr. Julius is also a relatable teacher. He’s friendly, and I appreciate that!”
“Mrs. Johnson is a great teacher because she gets straight to the point and doesn’t stall class time. This makes it a lot easier for us to learn. Choir is one of those classes that you need to learn something fast in order to practice.”
“I really like Mrs. Newburger’s class because she’s very laid back and an amazing teacher. Even though math is hard, I appreciate how she tries to help us.”
“Mrs. Irons is one of my favorite teachers. She makes good assignments and is encouraging to all her students.”
“I appreciate Dr. Clark’s class because she is friendly and gives the class some say in what we do. We get breaks often and she takes her time to let everyone understand the subject.”
“I love Coach K.J.’s class because he shows us how to win an argument. He cares about us and I always look forward to coming to his class.
I also love Mrs. Runnel’s and Mrs. Gunn’s class because they help us with assignments for other classes. I really feel they like teaching and care about me.”
“I love Mrs. Venters because she makes our class a cool environment and makes it that our drama class is a fun break from real classes.”
“I really loved Mr. Rennie. He was so nice to our classes and he would let us have second chances (with corrections), but then also he would let us work at our own pace and even give us breaks as a breather. I really hope he comes back one day.”
“I appreciate Dr. Cranford because not only do I get to learn a new instrument, I can (re)learn things that I’ve either been taught by my piano teacher(s) or not. He has made the band a fun class, even with all the events we participate in.
It’s also pretty surprising how Dr. Clark is able to handle three different grades. It seems pretty hard to keep up with whatever each grade has learned, as they’re all on different levels. Translating Latin is pretty hard, but I’m sure that with Dr. Clark’s guidance, I will be fine.”
“Mr. Rennie is one of my favorite teachers because whenever you need help with a math problem he will help you the best way possible to help you find the answer very quickly, and he will also write an example on the board too.
Dr. Cranford is one of my other favorite teachers because when our instruments are having problems and stuff, he will fix it for us, and whenever we forget to bring our music book he always will have a spare one that we can use. He also usually leaves somewhere around 5:30 each day, just in case we need to practice in his room.”
“Mr. Goldsbury is one of my favorite 7th grade teachers, he is also one of my favorite teachers I’ve had so far being at the middle school. His classes are fun and interesting and I always leave the classroom with new knowledge of science. He teaches in a way that you can easily comprehend the lessons he teaches. He fosters a very good learning environment that helps the students excel in science, and I appreciate that.”
“When you ask me ‘Who is the best coach?” the answer is always Coach Spann. I love Coach Spann because she’s someone I can talk to about anything. When I’m feeling sad, I like to go to her because I know she will always cheer me up.”
“I love Mrs. Newburger’s class because she always stops to make sure everyone fully understands what she is teaching. Even if no one asks a question she will still check you know it by going around the classroom and checking on each student individually. By doing this it shows that she really cares about her students and I appreciate that.”
“I love Mama J., Mrs. Johnson, because she is really nice and funny. She also gives us candy. She has a lot of patience to deal with our classes.”
“I enjoy Mr. Julius’ class. We get to discuss all sorts of fun topics. We read different kinds of books too. Some are goofy and some are really sad. The way that he teaches brings joy to me, and Mr. Julius is the teacher that I wish all teachers were like.”
“I love Mrs. Venters’ class because she is always making us laugh. She is always coming up with games for us to play. When it comes time for us to plan out a play, she is always listening to our suggestions and making us smile.”
“I like Mrs. King’s class, even though I don’t like history. Mrs. King’s nearpods make it very fun to learn in class, and they are very entertaining. I enjoy her room too. She has a very calm environment in her room, and she never yells at us.”
“Mr. Brister is one of my favorite teachers because he actually understands students and what they go through. I remember a time when a friend and I were talking about why we couldn’t go outside. He said we should go outside, but he understood why we didn’t want to and empathized with us. Spanish is also amazing because he helps us with our grammar and how to say real sentences.”