Today was it. The last day before Christmas break and the last day of teaching with Mrs. Howell (not that there was really any teaching going on). Mrs. Howell was my SPED teacher and has been a great friend, mentor, and wealth of knowledge to me for the past 3 1/2 years. To sum up my love and appreciation for this great woman here is my Top 10 List:
Top 10 Reasons Everyone Needs Mrs. Howell
- Her 30-some years of experience make her extremely knowledgeable of what works and what doesn’t work. When I am at a lost for words (like the first time I attempted to teach elapsed time) Mrs. Howell knows to jump in with great strategies and somehow makes me feel like its going to be okay.
- Her love for teaching is contagious and she gives 100% to her job each and everyday. She is not and will not be one of those teachers who counts down the days until retirement, end of the school year, or even a break. She stays late and comes in early to assure that her job is done to perfection. She is incredible!
- Mrs. Howell is beyond generous. My first year teaching I didn’t have the money to completely set up my classroom (no previous job, husband who was laid off, etc.). She just lent me thousands of books for my reading classroom, bought organizational units for me to keep, and copied me anything and everything I may need for teaching. She did all of this without being asked to or expecting anything in return. She will not let you pay her back for anything and continues to spoil me like crazy!
- She is fair. If she needs her bus duty covered she will take your duty from you to pay you back. She even “pays” in advance for the times she knows she will miss work. She treats all of the students the same no matter who is SPED or not. They are all her students and she gives them all the same treatment and love!
- She makes you feel good about yourself. Mrs. Howell will compliment her co-teachers and never take the credit (even though it is all her) for student growth or achievements. She is so humble and encouraging.
- She is constantly looking for the newest ideas to make her students learning even more dynamic. She is by no means set in her ways. She is more than willing to use technology (even though she has no clue how to work any of it) if it will help her students make gains. She loves to share her ideas with others and get input from all parties in order to make each lesson the best it can be.
- Mrs. Howell meets each student where they are at. If a third grader comes in needing to learn how to count (which has happened) then she works with them on counting and hopes for the best. If a student is already ahead of the game she will challenge them with harder math problems and tasks that most students do not see until 5th or 6th grade. Mrs. Howell wants each student to grow as much as they possibly can in third grade!
- Her caring heart helps everyone. She loves to share ideas, materials, and opinions (even if you are not on her team, grade level, or school). I love her for that. She is a sound board when I just need someone to listen. She is a buffer when communication is rough. She is an encourager when people are down. And more than that she inspires others to work hard and strive for the best!
- She cannot be replaced. Although we are welcoming Mrs. Gantt to third grade inclusion, Mrs. Howell is irreplaceable. I will miss her more than she will ever know and have cried many times over this day coming (and even as I write this). I don’t think the kiddos understand that she is not returning and I know January will be hard. Mrs. Howell has some big shoes to fill and the place she has in my heart will never be taken over by another.
- She is the one and only Mrs. Howell! There is not one person who could have been a better help to me in my first years than her. I have learned so many great things from her and hope to one day be just as amazing of a person as her. Her daughters are blessed. Her grandsons are spoiled. Her husband is loved dearly. And I am so thankful to have worked with Mrs. Howell for the time that I have.
I wish you all the best at your new school! We will miss you dearly and love you always!