A night to show appreciation for teachers

Published 12:03 am Friday, September 16, 2022

SALISBURY — Teachers across Rowan County were invited to a Teacher Appreciation Night on Thursday that included giveaways, local food and treats, and even some yoga, but mostly, a heaping serving of thanks.

Tamara Sheffield, Salisbury’s mayor pro tem, came right from work to be a part of the show of gratitude.

“Seems like a no-brainer to me,” she said. “Whether education is in your realm of responsibility or not, you can still partner with teachers to show support.”

She said she recognized that the council is not in control of the school budget, but it is still important to let educators know city officials are behind them.

“I think teachers are the essential workers,” said Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education Vice Chair Alisha Byrd-Clark. “We celebrate the health care workers and that’s great, but without teachers, there would be no health care workers. I wish more teachers had been able to come out tonight to see the community support.”

And while there were a decent number of teachers at the event, held at South Main Book Company from 4 to 6 p.m., there were fewer than hoped for.

“I think what people don’t know and what maybe a lot of us would rather not see is that more and more teachers have to have a second job,” said Alison, who declined to provide her last name. “So many teachers don’t make enough just by teaching to take care of a family. And they are still having to put a lot of their own money into supplies and into decorating rooms or for anything extra.”

Jill DeBord, a 25-year veteran of teaching with 21 of those years in Rowan County, said it “could be interesting that politicians are here, but they can sometimes be less than attentive.” However, asked how she felt about her conversations Thursday, she was, she said, pleasantly surprised.

“I just had a conversation with Alisha Byrd-Clark and I felt like she was actually listening,” she said, “like she really heard what I was saying and thinking.” That, she said, made her hopeful.

“Teachers took a big hit in COVID, and moments like these are vital to let them know there is gratitude for what they give our children,” said Anthony Smith, Salisbury City Council member.

DeBord, who teaches at Southeast Middle School, said she is glad things are at least beginning to get back to some sense of normal.

“I’m a little tired of having first time experiences in my 25th year of teaching,” she said, laughing. “I thought I’d like to be able to stay at home and teach from home, and then I did, and I didn’t think it was so great anymore. And then I thought it would be nice to have a week of Monday and Friday, and then we did with the half days last year, and I realized then why God put those extra days in between!”

But, she said, it is always wonderful to be recognized and appreciated.