In August of 2009, my oldest child started kindergarten at Corbell Elementary, and since then, a Carter kid has been at Corbell every single year. Riley just finished her first year in college, Jed is completing his junior year of high school, Clay eighth grade, and Alex fifth grade. Alex will move to middle school next year, which means that our time at Corbell is coming to a close. I hadn’t thought much about it until I went to parent open house this spring and it came up over and over. I found myself getting teary. Fourteen years at one school is a long time. I’m pretty sure that next week at fifth grade “graduation” those tears will fall, so during this teacher appreciation week, I’ll say thank you to the people that have made this place so special for our family.
My children learned so much in elementary school. That seems obvious, but the day-to-day work teachers put into helping my kids and all the other kids learn is monumental. When one of mine couldn’t quite grasp reading, we were worried. His teacher whom we’d had for another of his siblings identified this issue as well and got him the help he needed. Two years of daily dyslexia lessons later, he can read and read well. I thank God that we attend a school with the personnel and the resources who saved him from years of tortured learning and the low self-esteem that would’ve resulted. This is just one example of the immeasurable support and encouragement this community has given my family.
One of the greatest features of Corbell is staff consistency. We’ve known some of the teachers and staff for years. A couple of the Specials teachers have probably seen a Carter kid once a week, every week for the entire time we’ve been there. When I see teachers that the kids have had in the past, they always ask how the kids are doing. They are always amazed at how tall the kids have gotten and are proud of all they’ve accomplished. The love the teachers pour into their students does not end when those kids leave their classrooms but follows them throughout their lives.
During the last fourteen years, teachers have had to take on burdens we couldn’t have anticipated. The sheer number of school shootings has made active shooter drills a part of their daily existence. I’m glad my children know what to do and where to hide at their schools but am deeply grieved that this knowledge is necessary. We journeyed through Covid together when we left school for spring break and didn’t return that school year. The teachers had to pivot to teach via Zoom and create online assignments. My appreciation for them deepened as this experiment in homeschooling went on for months. I don’t know how or why only three years later, teachers have become political targets for doing their jobs and trying to do them well. I trust the teachers who are educated on how to educate children. I stand with them. But I hate that the pressures on teachers and school staff have increased dramatically in our years in elementary school. I want them to know we see them and that we know they should be paid more and given more praise at the very least.
I could go on and on about the wonderful attributes of the people who make up the heart and soul of Corbell. They have blessed us more than they’ll ever know. Over the years, I hope we’ve shown them a small modicum of how much we love them. Because we do – we love you, Corbell. And we always will.