- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
The first day of school for Chisum, Paris and North Lamar students is Aug. 27. For the teachers, things kick off a week earlier.
“It’s exciting; I still love buying school supplies,” Cynthia Hutson, a second-grade teacher at Aikin Elementary School, said as she browsed through Office Equipment Center. “It’s Christmas in August, in a sense.”
Saturday was Teacher Appreciation Day at the store, something it has done for more than 20 years as a way to give back to one of its major customer bases.
“We have all these teacher supplies. Teachers buy throughout the year from us,” account executive Chris Lancaster said. “They’re our customers, and we appreciate them.”
For veteran teachers like Cynthia, who has eight years in the classroom, the first day of school is just part of the job.
“It used to be nerve wracking,” said Ted Weiberg, a 15-year career and technology education instructor who teaches at North Lamar High School. “Now, it’s just the usual routine of transitioning from doing what I want to do to being a role model and getting my thoughts in line with being with students again,”
For Carrie Cannon, a third-grade teacher at Hugo Elementary School getting supplies for her very first classroom, it’s a different experience.
“I’m scared,” she said, laughing. “It’s a grade I’ve never taught before. It’s a testing grade, and there’s some stress there.”
Still, she said she’s had a lot of professional development over the summer and has veteran teachers she can look up to.
Teachers often share their students’ excitement for a new school year, such as Ted’s wife, Patricia Weiberg.
“Part of me is excited and anxious to meet a new group of kids. Today kind of seals it: It’s the end of the summer,” Patricia said. “I’m also sad to see summer end.”
A kindergarten teacher at Chisum Elementary School who has spent 17 years instructing kids, she was shopping for decorations to try a brand new look in her classroom this year.
“I try to find something new and exciting every summer,” she said. “You get a fresh start every year.”
That fresh start can be a key to helping teachers maintain their enthusiasm. NLHS English teacher Mark Russell said he’s never done the same thing two years in a row, which makes every year something to look forward to even though he does hate “to see the free summer time end.”
Like Mark, Co-worker Cheryl LaRue, a journalism and AVID teacher at NLHS, has more than 14 years of experience to draw on.
“It seems like if I think too much about it, I end up scrapping all my plans because it doesn’t fit the students I get,” Cheryl said. “I have to adapt for the students, make it fun for them – and fun for me, too.”
Of course, rough economic times hit every profession, even education. Ted and Patricia’s daughter, Jennifer Weiberg, has been looking for a job as an elementary school teacher since she graduated college in 2011. Although she has worked in a law office and preschool, she is dedicated to finding her own classroom. It’s a dedication educators often talk about when asked why they teach.
“It’s my passion. I love to teach. Working with kids is what I desire to do,” she said. “Working in a preschool gave me experience that I can take into my classroom.”