Teachers honored for trait of patience by Community of Character program

May 31, 2016 Times and Democrat  article (reprinted with permission)

Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer

citizen of the month - May  2016 - patience

Our Teachers

Whether it’s offering an encouraging embrace, applying a healing hand or speaking a comforting word, teachers fulfill many roles in educating students throughout Orangeburg County.

An aptitude for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic is just a portion of what teachers are called to do in preparing students for success. It takes love, a listening ear and tender care, too.

With the 2015-2016 school year nearing its end, teachers throughout the region, including those in Orangeburg Consolidated School Districts Three, Four and Five, have demonstrated poise in making a difference in the lives of children academically, emotionally and physically.

Their commitment to doing that while sometimes having to bear provocation or annoyance without complaint, irritation or loss of temper has earned the teachers recognition as the exemplification of patience for May as part of Orangeburg County’s Community of Character initiative.

“Teachers have to have patience even with academics. Sometimes children don’t get things right away, so they have to work with them more. I have teachers that will give up their planning time to work with students and help them grasp a skill they were teaching in class,” Marshall Elementary School Principal Dyisha Taylor said.

“We even have teachers who volunteer to stay after school, going the extra mile to help students. All of that could be exhibited as patience. Nobody does it better than teachers. Every kid is different, and you have to know what each kid needs to motivate that child. You have to work with them,” Taylor said.

Students come to school with “so many different things” going on in their lives, but they must not be given up on, the principal said.

“We don’t know what it may be. A student could be having a bad day, and we can’t just give up on the child and say, ‘Oh, you’re misbehaving, we’re going to do this or that.’ Sometimes teachers have to talk to them and get to the root of the problem, so they have to be counselors,” Taylor said.

Deloris Smith, a guidance counselor at Mellichamp Elementary School, said, “I think that teachers show an awesome amount of patience by giving students the opportunity to prove themselves daily with their behavior, giving them a chance and opportunity to self correct.”

Helping students get the knowledge they need at their own pace is another way teachers show patience, she said.

“I think they show patience in tolerance. They’re dealing with a lot of things while giving the students the opportunity to prove themselves not just as a person, but to them as well. It also takes love and persistence in patience,” Smith said, noting that practicing patience is not just a one-time thing.

“You have to pursue it relentlessly in order to see that the students are successful. I think many of the teachers have a lot of patience, which is key in being a successful one,” she said.

Wearing different hats is something teachers have had to get used to, Taylor said.

“They’re counselors, nurses, mentors and role models. They have to work with the whole child and even go beyond the classroom in doing that. It extends into the community, or working with parents. We have teachers going to support students at events and hoping that will translate into their academic performance in the classroom,” she said.

Dr. Brian Newsome, superintendent of Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, said, “We’re so fortunate that our teachers do so much work. They’re so underpaid and still do it with a heart and passion for students. They have patience with families, students and all of the things that they have to be accountable for.”

Newsome said continuing to handle their responsibilities with a smile and as much effort and love as they can muster is what makes teachers special.

“No better group of people could have been chosen to represent patience than teachers because they really and truly have it,” he said. “They’re the reason we’re all here right now. We’ve had a great teacher in our life that impacted us and helped us get on the track to be successful.”

Newsome added, “It’s amazing that I get to work with over 70 teachers every day. I’m fortunate to be able to just try and be a positive influence for them … and give them what they need.”