Our Welcome To Sanford Lee County Teacher of the Week is Reading Intervention Specialist Heather Gaines of B.T. Bullock Elementary School. Mrs. Gaines is wrapping up her eighth year of year teaching, and partners with colleagues Melissa Douglas and Gloria Briglin to form the school’s “Literacy Junction” — where they collectively bring over 50 years of teaching elementary school experience to the B.T. Bullock family. Mrs. Gaines has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In the 2017-18 school year, she has honored as recipient of the school’s Teacher of the Year award.
Mrs. Gaines is a dedicated believer in the impact of teaching and knows that the process is much more than just teaching students the sounds of letters, the process of addition or how to read smoothly with expression. She observes, “Education is a mission field where we, as educators, have a powerful opportunity to foster love, hope and joy for learning in each and every child. Teaching is helping students believe that they have the capacity to reach their highest potential, to stretch their boundaries and to accomplish their biggest drama.”
As we draw to the end of an eventful school year, Mrs. Gaines’ thoughts move to people who are considering education as a future career, as well as the feelings that are commonplace as the year comes to an end. She thinks of teaching like running a race and encourages her fellow educators, new and old, to just keep going. Here’s how Mrs. Gaines describes the process for young teachers … “At the beginning of the school year, you will be on FIRE and full of energy, ready to tackle this race! As you are running this race, you start running out of energy rather quickly. You will want to just throw your hands up in the air and quit the race. Just when you are about to give up, you start to realize that your students actually are listening to what you have been teaching this whole year. Your struggling students begin to soar, your classroom behaviors dwindle and those RTI plans that you have been drowning in do not seem as bad as you thought. It is in these moments where you will always find your reason for staying, so just keep going.”