Editorial: Thank a teacher

Whitfield County Schools recently honored Dee Goodwin, a teacher from Beaverdale Elementary who had retired at the end of the past academic year, with its Teacher of the Year award, and from all accounts the honor was well deserved. We congratulate Goodwin and wish her well in retirement.

“I can only hope I was chosen because they saw I poured my heart into this system, and how invested I was,” Goodwin said. “I’ve always been an advocate and a positive voice for this system.”

Superintendent Judy Gilreath had a larger message as well, since teachers of the year for each school in the system were recognized during the Whitfield Education Foundation Employee Celebration at Southeast Whitfield High School.

“You are the stars of Whitfield County, and I’m proud of every one of you,” Gilreath said.

That is important to remember as local teachers prepare for the return of students, and given the conditions under which they are expected to excel due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We always want to recognize and celebrate our teachers for the important role they play in the lives of the youth of our community. Their guidance and instruction help determine the future of the community, for many of these youths will make up the community as the years move on.

But in this challenging time, we should perhaps be even more understanding of the stresses that our teachers face given the pandemic. We should be even more aware of the valuable role they are playing, and more willing to provide them moral and other support as they provide our youth with the knowledge needed to succeed in the world.

“I feel lucky to have been part of Whitfield County Schools all these years” as a teacher and student, Goodwin said after receiving her honor. “I love the people, and this means the world to me.”

Our community has been lucky — that is to say blessed — that Goodwin and all the other teachers have graced our local school systems throughout the years.

So if you happen to see a teacher during this pandemic, and even when this pandemic is over, whether it be in a parent-teacher conference or at the grocery store or at the ball field, let him or her know how much you appreciate their vital efforts on behalf of our children and in making our community the best it can be.

Thank a teacher. They will appreciate it, and they deserve it.

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