Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
I nominate Tamara Slade at Rose Springs Elementary for the Teacher Feature award. Mrs. Slade is my son's current third grade teacher. I have never met a teacher more passionate about reading and skilled at getting kids to read and enjoy it. While I feel Mrs. Slade shines in helping her class achieve academic success, her real "magic" is helping those who are struggling. At the end of 2nd grade my son refused to write in school or at home. One time it literally took us 2.5 hours to write three lines for a homework project. When I got his journal at the end of the year, he had tried to write for the first month, then he moved to drawing pictures. After Christmas break the journal was empty. My son is moderately dyslexic and severely dysgraphic. Writing and written expression are really hard for him. I was ready to move to typing completely, then we met Mrs. Slade. She somehow made it ok for his spelling to be wrong and his writing to be praise worthy. I had tried to help Michael feel that way, but she succeeded. He learned cursive and is loving it! Michael is now writing poems at home for fun. I cannot believe the difference between the confident, happy, enthusiastic child who loves school that he is today and the child he was at the end of last year who begged not to go to school and was sick every morning the last three months of school. While Mrs. Slade is devoted for us, attending a training about dyslexia, accommodating Michael and working so hard to help him achieve, she is "that teacher" for every child. I hear this same story over and over again when I talk to friends about Mrs. Slade. In her almost 20 years of teaching it is the child who was held back the year before she had them, the child with hearing problems and hearing aids, and the child whose behavior was out of control the year before who are accepted, loved and taught to succeed in the walls of her classroom. I count Mrs. Slade as one of my greatest blessing this year. She is truly devoted to all those who need a champion.