Teacher Appreciation Efforts Eyed

NEWARK –   The ongoing health crisis didn’t stop school system officials this week from recognizing the importance of educators.

The Worcester County Board of Education on Tuesday adopted a resolution establishing May 4-8 as Teacher Appreciation Week. Superintendent Lou Taylor said continuity of learning initiatives, through which teachers are using technology to offer students online lessons and digital learning while schools are closed, proved how devoted local educators were.

“Never in my many years as an educator have I appreciated teachers more than I do today,” Taylor said. “They have done this with open arms.”

Though schools have been closed for more than a month to stop the spread of COVID-19, teachers are still educating students, albeit online. Taylor said educators jumped into their new roles without hesitation. Not only are they providing lessons and instruction, they’re making sure students’ emotional needs are addressed and that they have enough to eat. Taylor said that though Teacher Appreciation Week wouldn’t feature the school-wide celebrations it typically did, he still wanted to highlight the efforts of educators.

“I certainly hope our community will join us on social media that week to celebrate our hardworking teachers,” he said.

Beth Shockley-Lynch, president of the Worcester County Teachers Association, said teachers had familiarized themselves with new programs and went out of their way to make digital learning a success.

“Our teachers have really been rock stars,” she said. “They have gone above and beyond. It’s not perfect but it’s getting a little better every day.”

Shockley-Lynch said teachers in the county’s more rural areas weren’t even letting their lack of internet connectivity stop them from doing their jobs. She said some teachers were going with their husbands to work to take advantage of internet while others were sitting in parking lots with WiFi access.

“That’s real dedication,” she said.

She said that in spite of the difficulties associated with the coronavirus pandemic the Worcester County school system was in better shape than some.

“In the scheme of things we’re really in great shape,” she said. “We are handling this situation amazingly well. Other counties are nowhere near as far along as we are.”

Shockley-Lynch said that was because of the cooperative spirit that existed here.

“We’re one team,” she said. “Our teachers feel very supported.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.