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East Texas teachers share struggles, successes during appreciation week

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 9:56 AM CDT
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(KTRE) - With a few days left in the academic year, Teachers Appreciation Week looks different from years past.

Back when the school year started last fall, many teachers questioned if there classroom would look or sound like it does now, especially with school ending abruptly last spring.

“I didn’t,” Nacogdoches ISD Kindergarten teacher Tammie Colston said. “I imagined, ‘how are we going to be able to do this?’

“We were thrown into a whole new world,” Lufkin ISD Kindergarten teacher Angela Duncan said. “This was my 30th year to teach but it was like starting over.”

The past 12-15 months posed challenges for us all during a pandemic, including how teachers educate our future generations; from virtual learning, social distancing, masks, quarantining and more.

“It was intimating because we had never done this before,” Colston said. “We had to learn new technology, change up the lessons, try to make them more engaging for students being online and when some of them came back for face-to-face with them not being able to as social and together.”

“It’s been change after change after change, but one thing is certain when you have best interest of the student at heart then you’re going to see growth and positive changes,” Duncan said. “I think throughout all of this we’ve learned and grown as educators, and it’s amazing that the children are so resilient.”

Colston teaches at Emeline Carpenter Elementary School in Nacogdoches and Duncan teaches at Dunbar Primary School in Lufkin. They say while many are showering them with gifts and praise, they greatly appreciate the support they are receiving.

“Some kind of way we made it happen,” Colston said. “As teachers we have that magic, good at improvising and making it work and with the help of supportive staff.”

“This district, Lufkin, has been supportive from the moment we were all thrown into this,” Duncan said.” Administrators, cafeteria workers, it was everyone. It was a team effort.”

Those teachers say they hope conditions improve to continue to get to a sense of normalcy for next school year.

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