Crawford Elementary School first-grade teacher Jan Rogers has a framed drawing hanging in her classroom of her first-grade teacher. Rogers said she absolutely loved her, and held onto the picture long after first grade ended.
"It's just funny that I ended up as a first-grade teacher as well," said Rogers. "I just thought she was the greatest."
A lot of people think Rogers is the greatest. Last Wednesday she became the first recipient of the Cocker Kids Foundation's "North Fork Teacher Appreciation Award." The award "is representative of all the excellent, dedicated teachers in the community who make a difference to children every day," according to a press release by the KCF. She has taught at CES for 20 years, and for 22 years for the Delta County 50-J School District.
"My class would like to know that I'm speechless," said Rogers after receiving the award. "What an honor, when I look at all these fabulous educators and what a great privilege to represent you. Thank you very much."
Rogers said she comes from "a whole family of teachers. I just thought I wasn't one of the crew, but I am." She had planned to be a stay-at-home mom, and began teaching out of necessity when her family needed extra income. "And all the jobs I found weren't that great," she recalled. "So we said, 'Well, maybe you could be a teacher.' And I thought, 'Well, maybe I could.'"
She began with a student teaching position, and loved it, she said. "Oh, I didn't count on it being this fun. I really want to do this." She got her first teaching job shortly afterward and has been teaching ever since.
Rogers said that being able to manage the classroom is an essential part of teaching, "so that you're free, everybody is just free to learn." She finds inspiration from a quote by Yeats she keeps posted by her classroom door: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
"I think getting kids excited about learning is the thing that I love most about teaching. And I think that's something that kids enjoy about being in my class. I'm excited about it, and so are they."
Rogers, who received "multiple nominations" from peers, community members and parents, was selected from more than 60 nominees and chosen by a committee of CKF board members and representatives from the North Fork Valley.
CKF board member Bob Pennetta emceed the award ceremony, held at Heritage Hall in Hotchkiss and attended by about 250 teachers, business and community members and students. The Hotchkiss High School band and Paonia choir provided entertainment.
The selection committee holds "all teachers in high esteem and we want to thank all of our educators for what you do every day for the youth of our valley," said Pennetta. The selection process was difficult, "because we could only pick one person." The award "serves as recognition for all of our educators and for the excellent and dedicated public school teachers of the North Fork Valley."
Pennetta said it is the CKF's desire "... that this award continues to be presented annually for decades to come."
Like all teachers, Rogers is making plans for the summer, which will include tutoring, some rest, and maybe a trip. She was also presented with a check from CKF for $10,000. And what does she plan to do with all the money?
"Oh, I'm going to have to figure out an answer for that one, because people are asking me," said Rogers." I haven't thought about it in the least."blog comments powered by Disqus