2011 Really Good Teacher: Heather Eldridge
Dedication is one of the keys to being a Really Good Teacher and Heather Eldridge, a Third Grade Teacher from Oro Valley, Arizona, has it. “Ever since I’ve known Heather,” said Amy, the teacher who nominated her, “she has always stayed extra late to prepare for the next day, and she works every Sunday at school to make sure her materials and lessons are ready to go.” It is an honor to recognize Heather’s dedication and commitment by naming her as a 2011 Really Good Teacher.
When asked what surprised her the most about teaching, Heather also talked about commitment and dedication to the profession. “I had no idea that the level of commitment was 24-7!” she said. “You have to be willing to devote your entire life to this profession in order to be a successful teacher. There is no down-time, no TV watching without papers to grade, no free weekends. I love my job, and in order to do it well, I have to commit many hours outside of the 8-4 regular scheduled hours in order to make a difference in my students. I wouldn’t change a thing, though!”
Every teacher has their reason for wanting to be in the classroom. Heather explained her reason when we asked, “I became a teacher because I love children and their innocent, fun way of looking at the world. I love their smiles, their laughter, their silliness, their writing, their “aha moments”, their hugs, their enthusiasm, and especially their love! I love to help my students LOVE TO LEARN.”
Heather’s dedication to her students was another reason why she was nominated. “The most important reason I am nominating my friend and colleague, Heather,” said Amy, “is because of her genuine interest in advocating what’s best for children. She never gives up on any child and she goes out of her way to make sure her children are successful. I feel so blessed to work with such an amazing person.”
When asked about her best teaching tip, Heather’s love for her students was apparent. “Love your students for their uniqueness’,” she said. “Enjoy all the individual students and the relationships you have with them. It is SO important to have a strong relationship with every student in your class, because you will remember them (and they will remember you) forever!”
A mentor to her students and new teachers alike, Heather offered this advice to those just entering the profession. “I would tell new teachers to find a good, kind, generous mentor to shadow and learn from,” she explained. “New teachers do well when they can follow in the footsteps of experienced ones, asking questions, borrowing, and learning from as you go.”
Heather, we applaud your work and are honored to feature you as a 2011 Really Good Teacher.