This letter was written by a Waterboro Elementary School Teacher, Jeannie Semo. She perfectly captures what a lot of teachers are going through...


This letter is the reason why she's the perfect choice for Teacher of the Year.  She doesn't want to shine a light on how hard teachers work, but how all the staff has been going above and beyond. Teachers are struggling, doing what many districts have not, by teaching in person and remote simultaneously 5 days a week.  There is no hybrid, no remote - only teachers.  They are doing twice the job, and as we approach a year, they are no longer being seen as the heroes they are, they are being vilified.  We should be celebrating them!

Jeannie Semo Waterboro Elementary Teacher
Jeannie Semo Waterboro Elementary Teacher


To Whom It May Concern:


I am beyond honored to have been nominated for the 2021 York County Teacher of the Year. I am going to opt out of the process for a variety of reasons. You see I do not feel that I am worthy. I am not a better teacher than my colleagues. This year has been a massive undertaking for every educator, especially in my district of RSU57. We teach both in person and remote simultaneously, five days a week. We enforce social distancing, learning and above all else kindness.


The word kindness comes to mind when I think of my colleagues. I have witnessed teachers kneel on the ground while a child is in tears, trying to console their frustration and/or pain. I have witnessed teachers escort our librarian out to her car every single day as she is dependent on a cane. Multiple teachers have been clearing off snow from other vehicles at the end of the day, out of the goodness of their hearts. Many teachers provide scarves, gloves, hats and boots to children in need, from the generosity of their souls. A fourth grade teacher walks a student out to their mom every single day comforting that child’s anxiety. A fifth grade teacher who is beyond exhausted, is still trying to implement Winterkids and experiential learning activities. Our preschool teachers have created happiness within their itty bitty students' lives who have had to learn to wear a mask all day.


I have witnessed teachers support one another through tears and frustration only to return the following day putting on their best face for their students. I have witnessed teachers stay after hours absolutely exhausted in order to decorate a hallway with their student’s work so those students can feel proud of their accomplishments. I have witnessed teachers give up their break time in order to attend to their student’s needs. I have witnessed teachers play outside at recess in order to bring laughter into these little human’s lives. I have witnessed teachers unfamiliar with technology excel at it with the support of their P.L.C. (professional learning community)  members. I have witnessed teachers drag equipment all over the school in order to teach Specials. I have witnessed our Librarian spend countless hours creating technology for extracurricular academics. I have witnessed hour upon hour of preparation in order to meet the needs of both remote and in person learners.


Our Ed-techs have become our backbone along with our left and right hands when we are falling apart. Our Custodians not only secure cleanliness, but are willing to completely reorganize our rooms in order to create a safer space. Our secretaries manage everything and keep the wheels turning, even a simple piece of candy to brighten our day. Our P.T.O amazes us with consistent support and dedicates numerous hours of volunteerism. They are not paid and are willing to give of their time during this pandemic, they never cease to impress us.


Our Cafeteria ladies have still managed to create bonds as these little humans walk through their lines. Our school counselors have turned themselves inside out in order to meet the needs of students with chronic trauma. They also stand duties and clean tables. I have witnessed our administration cry because they carry the responsibility of not only the students and staff, but also their families. One teacher stays outside almost the entire day in order for our children to have Physical Education. She is exhausted and shivers as she teaches in the snow, but she never gives up. She smiles with grace and dignity every single day.


I have comforted those who have lost loved ones and even after these incredible losses….these teachers come right back to work because the kids need them. They have put grief on the back burner. I hear them dancing and teaching through their pain, it is heart wrenchingly amazing.

My P.L.C. (professional learning community), in particular amazes me with their laughter and willingness to serve. We are the very fiber that runs through second grade. We work tirelessly to present a united front of love and education to our students. We also support one another beyond measure. We all show up every single day. We wear our mask, our shield and our hearts. The kindness between our staff is overwhelming and the true definition of authentic support. You see I am not special and I do not deserve this recognition, however my entire school does. They are amazing and I am blessed to be a part of such a magnificent community.


Well said Jeannie. I live with a teacher who is exhausted and giving 110% every day. If you have kids in school, reach out to the teachers who are trying to keep the wheels on the bus every single day of this awful new normal. They are doing their absolute best...



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