Constance named Polk Teacher of Year

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A native of Raleigh, NC, Constance says that her mother and her fifth grade teacher at Charles Bug Elementary School, Mr. Stevens, were the two most influential role models in her life and in her decision to become an educator. Her mother, left to raise Constance on her own in the late 1960s, always strove to provide for her daughter and stressed the importance of obtaining an education.

Mr. Stevens, says Constance, provided her and his other students with strong academic lessons, but perhaps more importantly he &dquo;encouraged our learning and personal growth. He interacted with us at recess. Thanks to Mr. Stevens, I knew at the end of my fifth grade year that I, too, would become a teacher.&dquo;

&dquo;As a teacher, I have always wanted to make kids feel the way Mr. Stevens has made me feel in the school,&dquo; says Constance. &dquo;The relationship a teacher creates with each student can possibly change that child&squo;s life. As a matter of fact, it may be the only positive relationship that child has. Before the end of each school year, I strive to leave each of my students with a positive message and an improved self-image.&dquo;

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Describing teaching as both an honor and a gift that enhances her life, Constance says that the opportunity to facilitate knowledge and to be of service to others brings joy to her heart.

&dquo;On a daily basis, I treasure the ability to empower and to mold our young people to prepare them to make educated and compassionate choices throughout their lives,&dquo; she says. &dquo;I sincerely care about what happens to each little soul sitting in my classroom.&dquo;

Her efforts do not go unnoticed as parent JoAnn Roser reflects on her son&squo;s experience in Constance&squo;s class, &dquo;Ms. Constance not only taught with the rigors of discipline but she taught from her committed heart. She taught with love,&dquo; Roser says. &dquo;Ms. Constance made authentic connections with each of her students. She engaged each and every student&squo;s interest, from sports to pets to favorite TV shows. She took time to understand their daily struggles, fears and concerns&ellip;She nurtured all the children. Their bellies, their hearts and their minds were always full.&dquo;