Educators recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week in Murphysboro, Ill.

Teachers in the Heartland and across the country are feeling the love this Teacher Appreciation Week
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 5:27 PM CDT
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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - Teachers in the Heartland and across the country are feeling the love this Teacher Appreciation Week.

But, they’re also ending the school year with the same issues stretching them thin since the pandemic started.

“It’s heartwarming, absolutely. And it shows and tells us we’ve done our job this year,” said Andrea Waddington, 2nd grade teacher at General John A. Logan Attendance Center.

If you take a look around the General John A. Logan Attendance Center, you’ll find no shortage of love and appreciation for its teachers.

However, educators enjoying a special luncheon know they’re still facing plenty of challenges in the classroom.

“There’s a teacher shortage, there’s a sub shortage. We need people in the profession and we need to recruit them,” said Stephanie Finke, principal of General John A. Logan Attendance Center.

Finke spent 17 years teaching in this district.

“It is one of the hardest jobs there is.”

Finke said organizing the school day, managing behavior, reaching state standards are all part of her teachers’ already busy school day. That’s why here at Logan, she said they’ve created a nurturing environment where everyone feels supported.

“Each grade level is considered a team,” Finke explained. “We set aside an hour each week where they all get to meet together as a team and plan together, kind of lighten the load for each other, I think those kind of things make a huge difference.”

Finke said they’re also focusing on self-care. During the school year, they are offering snacks and even massages to help get teachers through the day.

That support also comes from the PTO, according to 2nd grade teacher Andrea Waddington.

“They provide things throughout the whole year. They organize things, they also allocate money for us so that we can use for in our classrooms and for students,” Waddington said.

And that includes all the teacher appreciation they can see, and taste this week. Finke said her teachers deserve it.

“I think they do a great job, like you said, all year long and it’s really nice that this week the rest of the worlds noticing,” Finke added.

Teacher appreciation week was started by the National PTA in 1984. It is always the first full week of May.