If you want to know why Heather Shuler has been teaching for nearly a quarter century, you need to start with her family.
“My mom is a teacher,” Shuler says. “My youngest sister decided to become a teacher as well. I’ve always been around kids. I have sisters that are 11 and 13 years younger than me. So I got to see what it was like to see little ones grow up.”
Her classroom is a place where standards are met and students are seen for all their potential.
“I try to look at each of my children as an individual person. I tell them all the time about how those individualities come together to make a community.”
She sees such progress every day.
“When they’re raising their hand, they want to answer a question, or read out loud where before they would put their head down. Or that smile comes on and they’re like, I get it. I understand. And then they ask to go to help someone else.”
And Mrs. Shuler will tell you, the credit for her success goes to the entire team at Belvedere Elementary.
I’ve lived in Aiken my whole life. I’ve driven to Belvedere for 23-years. This is where I want to stay as long as I can. It’s a family. “
“I lost my husband, it’ll be 7 years in June, to brain cancer. The support I had from my school family, from my home family, from my childrens’ school families, it made a world of difference. We have to be here for each other and work together or else we’re not going to get where we want to be. We can’t do it alone.”
And thanks to a classroom full of kids, and colleagues who love her, Heather Shuler will never be alone.
“The hugs I get everyday,” she says. “The smiles. Just knowing that this is where I meant to be and that I’m making a difference for them. I tell the kids all the time the difference they make for me, and they teach me all the time as well.”