Editor’s Note: Know anyone who is a life changer? This blog post is from LifeChanger winner Sandra Winkley of Dallas, Texas, in response to our post Educators, More Than Just Teachers. Nominate someone from your school (see the link at the end of the story).
In the Aug.31 blog post, Educators, More Than Just Teachers, you cited numerous statistics and examples that illustrate the many ways teachers go above and beyond to help their students succeed both inside and outside the classroom.
As a retired school teacher who spent more than 30 years in the classroom, I know that being an educator is truly a calling, not a job. Great teachers always find ways to challenge and inspire students and, in many cases, their influence continues to have a positive impact on their students’ lives long after they have left the classroom.
Amazingly, school districts across the country continue to find innovative ways to provide high quality education in the face of significant budget cuts to programs and services. As your article points out, teachers are giving more and more of their own time, energy, and money to fill gaps in student services and support.
It is important to know that these “above and beyond” efforts are not going entirely unnoticed. There are an increasing number of corporations and foundations that recognize the important role teachers play in educating our children and strengthening our communities and have created reward programs that can help teachers and schools fill the gaps.
One such program, National Life Group’s LifeChanger of the Year, is an annual initiative that recognizes and rewards K-12 school district educators and employees from around the country who are making a positive difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership. This year, ten awards will be given with each winner receiving a personal cash award along with a matching award for their school. The year’s top award is $10,000.
Last year, I was privileged to be recognized as a LifeChanger of the Year along with other education professionals from California, Florida and Oklahoma. To be nominated by my students and peers and then selected as a LifeChanger was an incredible honor for me personally. But, even more than that, it was a great opportunity to bring recognition and much-needed resources to my school, W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas, Texas. Samuel serves a predominantly minority population in which 97 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, a common measure of financial need. The funds my school received were used to purchase iPads, Nook Books and classroom supplies. It was an incredibly positive and uplifting experience for me, my students and my school.
I know each of us knows someone in a K-12 school district who is truly a lifechanger. I strongly encourage you to nominate them for a LifeChanger of the Year award this year. To nominate someone from your school, go to www.lifechangeroftheyear.com and click on “Nominate a LifeChanger Today.”