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'Schools are more than buildings' | Guilford County Schools teacher of the year pens open letter

To celebrate teacher appreciation week, WFMY News 2 interviewed Guilford County School's teacher of the year, Tammy White, to get her perspective on remote learning.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Until Friday, we get to celebrate teacher appreciation week.

But double whammy – Tuesday also marks teacher appreciation day.

Perhaps now more than ever in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we recognize how important educators are to our students and parents.

RELATED: Triad PTA creates drive-thru giveaway for teachers and staff

Tammy White is Guilford County Schools 2019 teacher of the year.

She continues to prove those accolades were well deserved, by stepping up to give encouragement in these difficult-remote learning times. 

Credit: Guilford County Schools

White wrote an open letter to parents, students, and fellow teachers trying to uplift others through the last few weeks of virtual schooling.

The words were fueled by her own situation. She has a senior who is struggling with the uncertainty of graduation. Meanwhile, she has to remotely teach a band class, which is no easy feat.

She's been a music instructor at Kiser Middle School for 19 years.

"There's a lot of critical listening that goes into my job and being able to actually see what students are doing so that part of it is missing," White explained.

But what she said she's missing the most, are her students bright faces.

RELATED: 'Your future is bright': Greensboro artist creates mural to celebrate Class of 2020

"Oh gosh, I miss their stories, I miss their laughter, I miss their antics and teaching middle school every day is different," she said with a smile.

During the coronavirus crisis, educators have acted as a 'lighthouse' for students and families. 

Therefore, the district asked everyone to reciprocate that light, by putting a light in your household window Tuesday night from 8:20 p.m. to 8:40 p.m. to say thank you.

Folks are encouraged to use the hashtags #NCLighthouseLeaders and #WeSeeYouGCS if you post pictures of your lights. 

Other teacher & staff appreciation events this week:

Wednesday, May 6

Drive-By Teacher Appreciation (12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Johnson Street Global Studies, 1601 Johnson St., High Point)

Johnson Street Global Studies is asking their staff to drive through the front parking lot where their administration team will be stationed six feet apart handing out a variety of items to let them know they are appreciated. They will receive lunch, a yard sign to post in their yard and a poster made by having some of the school’s students take photos of themselves holding up signs that create a message to the staff.  

Appreciation Gift Giveaway (3 p.m., Jefferson Elementary, 1400 New Garden Rd., Greensboro)

On Wednesday, Jefferson Elementary will have teacher appreciation gifts set up out in front of the schools and is inviting teachers to drive through the front parking lot. There will be music playing and people cheering to celebrate the staff.

Wishful Wednesday (Bluford-Peeler STEM Academy)

During Bluford-Peeler STEM Academy’s virtual teacher appreciation week, they will be dedicating each day of the week to a different theme. On Wednesday, Bluford-Peeler is asking students through Class Dojo, Canvas or email to share with their teachers how they can help them get ready for their incredible futures.

Thursday, May 7

Thankful Thursday (Bluford-Peeler STEM Academy)

During Bluford-Peeler STEM Academy’s virtual teacher appreciation week, they will be dedicating each day of the week to a different theme. On Thursday, the school will have a Thankful Thursday. Students will let their teachers know how thankful they are for their teachers.

Friday, May 8

Full Steam Ahead Friday (Bluford-Peeler STEM Academy)

During Bluford-Peeler STEM Academy’s virtual teacher appreciation week, they will be dedicating each day of the week to a different theme. On Friday, the school will have a Full Steam Ahead Friday. Students will put on their Bluford-Peeler gear and snap a photo of themselves holding a sign or poster with their teacher’s name on it. 

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