Teacher Appreciation: Why they do what they do

The Nemo Vista School District, like any other district you'll find in the state is filled with teachers dedicated to molding young lives for the better.

"Teaching is a calling," said Linda Roberts. She's been inside the classroom for 27 years. She is retiring after this year. "If it's not something you feel led to do, you'd probably better not. But if you are, it's a great profession."

For the past 42 years, Sandra Mahan, has taught many subjects including math, science, and social studies. Her decision to retire was not an easy one. "It was a hard decision," she said. "My grandson graduates this year. He and my granddaughter both will be in college. I just felt it was time."

The changes and challenges in education and society keep the teachers from becoming complacent. "There's always something new every year. But that also makes it exciting. You don't get bored. It's never boring," Roberts said.

While these teachers prepare students for a productive future, they enjoy watching the progress. "To see a kid have an 'aha' moment is really great," Roberts said.

"You get to see the lights come on," said Susan Stecher. She started teaching kindergarten 34 years ago. For the past eight years, her home has been at Nemo Vista preschool. "You get to see the growth. And not only that, they love you. We get lots of hugs."

Stecher says the curriculum has changed over the years. Children are learning more at an earlier age.

Of course, one can't ignore the rapid change in technology and it's affect on the learning environment. Still, most teachers agree, when it comes to teaching, core values remain the same. Sharon Boren teaches business technology and oral communications. She's been at Nemo Vista for 16 years and says kids have not changed.

"In all honesty, kids have not changed. Their environments have changed, their parents, situations have changed. We have to be flexible with that."

Boren says, along with a love for the profession, another effective part of teaching is knowing the students. "The kids are the reason we're here," she said. "I think every new teacher should have to ride a bus route and go see where their kids come from," she told KATV. "I think that should be a requirement for a first-year teacher."

They all agreed that the most important factor in the equation was the children. And the job can only be done well if the teacher truly enjoys what he or she does.

"You may be the smartest person in the world. You may have all the knowledge, and new ways of doing things," Stecher explained. "But if you can't make it fun, you're not going to be nearly as happy."