Amy Bates took a break from her 5th grade teaching career and taught 3rd graders for a few years. Now she’s back with the 5th graders to help them wrap up elementary school.

“I just have a really good connection with the older kids,” Bates says. “I have older children, so being able to connect with the kids is the biggest way that you can impact their education.”

Ms. Bates treats her W.E. Parker students like family. It’s the kind of approach that leads to lifelong rewards.

“You just love them. Try to teach them. The best thing is when they do leave, they always come back to talk to you.”

And they never forget her. Just like she hasn’t forgotten the person who inspired her to pursue a career in education.

“Then I had a teacher when I was in 4th grade, Mrs. Bunch. She was so compassionate and loving. I just wanted to be like her.”

And even though they’re growing up fast, Ms. Bates says parents still play a huge role. The support they get at home, combined with the support they get from the teachers here at W.E. Parker Elementary can make all the difference.

“Everything is a little bit challenging right now in education,” she says. “You just really have to keep hold to loving the children. That’s what gets you through and keeps you going every day. If you just love them, everything else falls into place.”