(WJBF) – Dr. CareyAnne Cushman is a local Reading teacher who has been teaching for 17 years and currently works at Parkway Elementary School in Evans, Georgia. WJBF asked Dr. CareyAnne Cushman to tell us why literacy and education are important in the classroom. This is what she had to say:

“It is imperative to me that my students understand that their struggle with reading is only a moment in time! It’s doesn’t have to be a struggle forever!”

— Dr. CareyAnne  Cushman

What is most important to you in the classroom? What do you want your students to take away from their time with you?

“As a Reading Specialist, I work with the most critical reading students who are 1-2 grade levels behind in reading fluency and comprehension. Sadly, these students often come to me feeling frustrated, embarrassed, and defeated. It is imperative to me that my students understand that their struggle with reading is only a moment in time! It’s doesn’t have to be a struggle forever! I explain that if they have a positive attitude and are willing to accept my help, practice daily, and work hard they will become more fluent readers with each day that passes. And that this struggle, this moment, will soon become one of many feathers in their cap.”

What is the most valuable thing you have learned during your time teaching?

“One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my teaching tenure is the importance of listening to my students—listening to what they say and also listening to what they don’t say. Students are people too and it is important to remember that ALL students, even our youngest elementary students, sometimes face major hardships and life stressors such as divorce, homelessness, hunger, abuse, neglect, bullying, etc. You would be surprised how much you can learn if you simply take the time to listen and understand their perspective. It can truly be an eye-opening experience!”

Why did you decide to pursue a career in Education?

“No eloquent or elaborate response here…I became a teacher for two very simple reasons: #1. I LOVE kids and #2 I LOVE learning.”

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I’ve been teaching for seventeen years now, and I still absolutely LOVE it! Yes, teaching is mentally and physically exhausting, heart-wrenching, and frustrating at times, but it is also fun, exciting, and rewarding at its best. I want people to know that teaching elementary school is hard work and what we do matters, every single minute of every single day. Sometimes this is hard for even us elementary teachers to see as we often lose track of our students and don’t get to see the fruits of our labor—seeing our students continue their educational journey through middle and high school and beyond. This is the nature of the beast and I have learned to be okay with it. However, I do hope and pray that ALL my students, both current and past, will always know “My Wish” for each and every one of them today, tomorrow, and forever.

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things, too
Yeah, this is my wish, my wish for you.

~Rascal Flatts~

Are you an educator in the CSRA? Do you want to share your story? Click here to submit your own Excerpt in Education today!