Keys for Kids

LITTLE LEARNERS — In Bona Vista’s Keys for Kids Preschool Infant and Toddler room, teacher Brittney Goodrich reads a book with Annah S. last week.

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! And, I’m not quite sure where to begin. Teachers, not just at Bona Vista, are so valuable. Honestly. If you can read this article, you need to thank your teachers, and I’m not saying that in jest. I’m 100-percent serious. Go now. I’ll wait.

The fact I know how to use the computer to type this article makes me want to message Mrs. Rayl. She doesn’t teach now, but she still works at Western School Corp. When I had her, though, she taught computers. She told me about the home-row keys, how to look at the screen instead of the keyboard, and presented me with the challenge to see how many words I can type in a minute. I’ve always loved a good challenge, so the number now is pretty impressive – if I do say so myself. And, if you ask my co-workers, they will tell you that I can look at them while they talk to me and continue to type something on the computer. I don’t even need to see the screen because home-row keys, y'all! That’s multi-tasking.

That’s just one example of how one teacher made an impact on me. I’m sure you have at least one teacher who has impacted you, too. Mrs. Rayl isn’t the only one, either. I could go on and on telling you about the teachers who nurtured my love for writing and journalism (shout out to Fran Walker who made learning fun) (can I get an Amen for Laura Groves?) or who taught me life lessons that I’ve taken with me throughout my life about having a strong work ethic and not being afraid to speak in front of a group on any topic (Larry Neuhauser and Steve Cole, legends).

At Bona Vista we have many teachers. Most recognizable are those in our Early Childhood Education Center in our Early Head Start and Keys for Kids Preschool programs. They work with children and families to get them ready for kindergarten. They work on the basics of colors, numbers, and letters but also how to sit at the table and wait patiently for snack time, how to react when you don’t get your way in a classroom setting, and how to interact with kids who may not look or act like you. There’s so much to be said for those early years leading up to K-12 schooling. They lay the groundwork for the next 12 years of a child’s life.

But, those who work with our kiddos aren’t our only teachers. We have Caregivers for the Developmentally Disabled who teach adults each day in our Sky’s the Limit, Habilitation and AIM (Action. Inspired. Motivated.) programs. It could be teaching them how to cook, how to use technology, how to use gym equipment, how to garden, how to read, how to sew, how to count money, how to paint, or any number of other things. They spend the day teaching adults, some older than them, how to do things that we oftentimes take for granted. Their days aren’t always easy, but I hope they know that each day when they leave that they have made an impact on someone’s life.

In addition to the CDDs who serve as teachers, we also have those staff who have been with us for decades. Their wealth of knowledge can’t be matched. They teach new employees and even those who have been around for a time how to handle different situations or what has/hasn’t worked for them in the past so they can work together to figure out the best way to accomplish different tasks. I learn so much from those who have gone before me and who paved the way to make this organization what it is today. Their teaching moments come from a place of experience that you can’t get anywhere else.

We appreciate all of our teachers – in the traditional role and the experienced role – who spend their days impacting the lives of those we serve and the staff we empower.

While this may be a national week of recognition, we hope they know how valuable they are to us every single day of the year. We couldn’t do what we do without them!