Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Very Special Night!

Friday was a very special day for my dear friend and teacher, Martha. She was honored by the Gilbert Education Foundation as the Elementary Teacher of the Year. Martha is well deserving of this honor as she has been an incredible teacher at GES for the last several years.

Martha truly cares about each of her students as individuals. She has created a warm, caring, and nurturing environment for the children who have been placed in her classes over the years. She instills in her students a love of literature and writing as well doing a wonderful job in all areas of the curriculum. However, teaching the whole child has been her strength as well as her love for reading and writing.

For the past year and a half, Martha has battled a very invasive form of breast cancer. She found out about it in November of 2008 and stayed home to fight this horrific disease the remainder of that school year. However, her love of teaching and children brought her back to our school last August.

Martha originally was a nurse. She stayed home to have her children and then decided that her passion was teaching. She went back and got her education degree and student taught at our school. We were fortunate to have her as a teacher after she did her student teaching.

Martha came to school every day this year having dealt with chemo, losing her hair, and infection in the port where the chemo was placed, and everything that went along with her fight against this awful disease. Every day she had a smile on her face and greeted her children and taught them everything that the fourth grade curriculum required. She never let her illness get in the way of her teaching.

At the end of March, Martha found out that the cancer had come back with a vengeance. She knew that she had to do everything to fight this insidious disease. As a result, she has not been able to come back to school.

When the Gilbert Educational Foundation asked for nominations for the Teacher of the Year, we decided to nominate Martha. Each of her students wrote a letter in support of this nomination. The letters from the children where heartfelt and I know that is the reason she was chosen. The recurring theme from the students was how when they walked through the door, they gave her the courage to teach because of her love for them. They were her sunshine and strength!!

Friday night she was honored at the Gilbert Educational Foundation dinner. Thirteen of us attended along with Martha's husband, sister and her three wonderful children.

I have to say that I am honored to be her principal. I was proud to sit at the table with her family.

Candy, one of our fantastic retired teachers, has been subbing for Martha. She put together a book with all of the letters and a poem that each of the children wrote for her. The book is beautiful and is actually a published book. We were also able to dedicate a page in our yearbook to Martha because she has been an inspiration to all of us.

Martha's spirit is hard to put into words. I can honestly say that it has been a privilege for me to know this wonderful teacher. I have learned much about courage and determination no matter what life brings you.

I love quotes and Tom Brokaw says that it is easy to make a buck, but hard to make a difference. Martha has made a huge difference to many!
Thank you for that, Martha. You are an inspiration to me and to many others!!

2 remarks:

NP said...

You said that beautifully dear Sheila. I am so jealous that I couldn't have been there with all of you to celebrate our special Martha!
Love & hugs,

Martha said...

Sheila, I am a little slow in keeping up with my friends' blogs these days. I'm having trouble sleeping tonight and checked in on yours. Your stories always make me smile and touch my heart. I was so surprised to see your post about me. Your words mean more to me than you can know. It is brecause of your faith and confidence in me and your and many other teachers' examples and mentorship at our school that enabled me to strive each day to be the best teacher I knew how to be. Thank you.