As Teacher Appreciation Week draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment and recognize the greatest educator I know. Her name is Kristen Foley, and she happens to be my wife.
This is not favoritism, though. If I only knew Kristen on a professional basis, my opinion of her teaching would not change.
I’ve known Kristen for seventeen years. In that time, her commitment and dedication to teaching has not wavered–not once. She has never compromised her standards, and she has not once taken the easy way out.
Kristen is quite demanding of her third grade students. She expects the best that they can individually offer and she wants it on a daily basis. She holds them accountable for both their academic performance and their personal actions. However, I guarantee you that every single one of her students, year after year, comes out of her class both an improved student and person.
That’s not to say she’s a taskmaster, though. I’m often amazed at how silly she’s willing to be in front of them. It’s not unusual to find her dancing with them during brain breaks or to catch her singing like a rock star. She is constantly striving to make her classes fun with innovative lessons, dramatic performances, cutting-edge technology, creative activities, and special keepsakes.
And while she asks for the best from her students and her school, she expects even more from herself. Kristen demands 100% effort from herself all of the time. She’s been that way from the day I met her, and she’ll be that way until the day she retires.
Once we put the kids to bed, she’s instantly back to work. She is always grading papers, developing lesson plans, writing newsletters, returning emails–I don’t know anyone who puts in more time than she does.
As a fellow teacher, I sometimes suggest she ease off the accelerator a bit. I’ve often worried that she’ll burn herself out. But that’s the difference between Kristen and most other teachers–she literally cannot burn herself out on this. She loves it. She loves teaching. She loves being an educator. She loves her students. She loves it in a way most of us cannot understand.
I’m thankful we still have teachers like Kristen Foley. She is, without question, the best of the best.