Celebrating Teachers Appreciation Week
SAN ANTONIO- Teachers Appreciation Week is a week-long celebration recognizing teachers and their contributions to education and society. This year, Teacher Appreciation Week falls from May 2, 2022, through May 6, 2022.
Local teachers at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) and nearby schools in San Antonio are persevering through challenges while making a difference in their students’ lives.
“OLLU felt like the right place to be. I wanted to help people find their place,” Antoinette Winstead, Professor of Drama and Mass Communication at OLLU, said.
Teachers Appreciation Week offers students and families an opportunity to show their appreciation and gratitude for the things teachers do for them.
One of the most significant role models in a person’s life can be standing right in front of the classroom. Teachers are people to look up to and emulate. It is good to reflect on the importance well-educated, quality teachers play in shaping people of the world.
Winstead is a professor who has collected an impressive amount of experience and education in Mass Communications. Her journey into the profession has led her to share her expertise and knowledge with her students at OLLU.
“It wasn’t my plan. It just sort of happened,” Winstead said. “I was in a graduate course here at OLLU earning a second master’s degree; after giving a lecture in my class the next day, my professor asked me if I wanted to be a professor.”
OLLU has a smaller-sized community compared to other colleges around Texas and San Antonio, giving it the ability to provide students with opportunities they could potentially miss out on at larger institutions.
Students at OLLU are given a rare opportunity to have a one-on-one experience with professors who are professionals in their field. The smaller student body means the majority will have access to resources, opportunities and the tools necessary for young professionals in society.
“I feel that the students that sit in my classrooms are getting a preparation for the rest of their lives,” said Winstead. “They are getting the hands-on experience in their production and writing course, and as long as they continue to grow and pursue, I think there is nothing they can’t do.”
Outside of OLLU and inside an elementary school, another teacher creates environments and resources for his students to help them reach their optimal success in life.
“I have worked extensively in the Exercise Science and Strength & Conditioning fields for years and have always enjoyed creating a culture that allowed people to learn, adapt, grow, and have fun using health and movement,” Chris Buckley, Physical Education teacher at Harmony Elementary said. “When given the opportunity after Grad school to move into Public Education, it was something I jumped at the opportunity to do.”
Buckley said there is always an opportunity to help as a teacher.
“One of the greatest things about being a teacher is you have the chance to inspire change,” said Buckley.
Since the Covid-19 Pandemic has started, the online transition has created learning blocks that have been significantly challenging for students. But along with the stresses of adjusting, their educators have been challenged to virtually instruct curriculums to their students.
Winstead said the hardest challenge she has faced due to the pandemic has been connecting to her students.
“You come to a university like OLLU to get that one-on-one connection,” said Winstead. “There is something about being able to be in the same room and not have that two-dimensional experience and that screen between you. People really need that three-dimensional connection.”
For educators like Winstead and Buckley, the workload for planning doubled, sometimes tripled, due to their students being remote at home and not having any resources or technology to join in or complete their assignments.
“There had to be constant communication throughout the day, and the hours were extended to ensure that everyone had the same opportunity as their classmate,” said Buckley. “It was an extremely challenging time for educators and without a doubt a challenge for the students as well.”
This year, Teachers Appreciation Week highlights all the teachers who took on the pandemic challenge and continued to devote their efforts to improving student’s lives by helping them grow inside and out of the classroom.
Celebrating Teachers Appreciation Week can be done through simple expressions of gratitude that do not have to be costly to show teachers that they are valued.
Organize a virtual in-class surprise, record a thank-you video, email a digital gift card, post a social media shout-out or give a simple handwritten note.
In honor of this special week in May, find a way to thank an educator for their contributions to education and society.
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