Say thank you to that special teacher

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2000

In a little less than a week, Lawrence County students will begin putting away their books and heading home for summer vacation.

Friday, May 19, 2000

In a little less than a week, Lawrence County students will begin putting away their books and heading home for summer vacation.

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And, for hundreds of Lawrence County seniors, this will be the last time they walk through their high schools’ front doors.

Although there might be some cheers when the last bell sounds, there will be some sadness, too. It is never easy to say goodbye.

But as the school year draws to a close, the students are not the only ones who might be saying goodbye to a place they care about and are sorry to leave.

There will also be many Lawrence County teachers who will end their teaching careers this year.

Many have spent 25 years or more in the classroom and have been role models, instructors and even friends to many of the area’s children and, in some cases, to their parents as well.

Many people think it is easy to be a teacher – after all, you do get three months off in the summer, so how bad could it be? But, the reality is that today’s children are much more of a challenge than you or I ever thought of being. Add to that the myriad of rules, regulations and other concerns that limit what schools are capable of accomplishing, and you have a recipe for frustration.

The good teachers never really acknowledge the stresses under which they work. They try to reach as many children they can – and most make a difference in children’s lives on a daily basis.

It isn’t easy facing a classroom of children every day who probably would rather be playing with their computers than thinking about math, science, reading or writing. It is a challenge to come up with a fresh, new idea.

Some of the veterans that the county will lose this year – and during the next couple of years – are pros. They know how to take control of a classroom and capture the interest of those wandering minds. They are inspiring and accomplished and could make more money doing just about anything else. Most have stayed teachers because of the children they have met along the way. They take pride in the adults they have helped them become.

I wish that I could name every teacher who will hang up his or her chalk this year. But, I know that many of you are preparing to wish some of those special people goodbye this year.

I can tell you from experience that most teachers find that visits and letters from former students are some of the most cherished of their honors. They enjoy hearing how their students are doing.

If you know of a teacher who is retiring and who has been a special part of your life, or a special former teacher who is no longer with us, please drop us a note. You can either write us the old-fashioned way at P.O. Box 647, Ironton, Ohio 45638 or send us an e-mail at Please take the time to write us or, if you are pressed for time, call 532-1441 and ask for me or anyone in the newsroom, and we will gladly take your story.

Throughout our lives, special people have made a difference in our lives. For many of us, those crucial choices and the sage advice that led to those life-changing decisions came from a teacher.

If you were lucky enough to have such an experience, help us give that special teacher a gift that will outshine any the school has planned.

Give him or her your thanks.

Renee Carey is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.