Heather Gaines – B.T. Bullock Elementary School

Our Welcome To Sanford Lee County Teacher of the Week is Reading Intervention Specialist Heather Gaines of B.T. Bullock Elementary School. Mrs. Gaines — the recipient of the school’s Teacher of the Year award for 2018-19 — has completed her sixth year of teaching and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Mrs. Gaines believes that teaching is much more than just teaching the sounds of letters, the process of addition or how to read smoothly with expression. “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.”

To those considering education as a future career, Mrs. Gaines said that teaching is similar to running a race and to just keep going. “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.”