South Orange – Maplewood Families Praise Teachers Who Make a Difference

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This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, when parents and students across the country show their support, admiration and love for teachers through notes, small gifts, special luncheons, words of praise and more.

In South Orange – Maplewood, Supt. Dr. John Ramos put out a call to the community to post their stories of teachers who have made a difference in their students’ lives on the Let’s Talk! website — and the responses have been pouring in.

Ramos wrote in his email, “We all know that teachers can have a profound impact on the lives of their students. Educator and Scholar Henry Adams said ‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.‘”

Here are just a few examples of comments on Let’s Talk, which the district is compiling; see more attached as a PDF document:

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When your child enters kindergarten and begins their journey through formal education you have incredible fears and hopes. I will be eternally grateful that my son began his journey with [Tuscan teacher] Rebecca Vezza. I could not hope for a better start than the one she has offered to her classroom of students. My son feels inspired, challenged, supported and nurtured.

A new teacher at [Maplewood Middle School], Ms. Schlatmann, is my daughter’s definite favorite teacher this year. She has enabled my daughter to really like science and has encouraged her to pursue it as her passion. I appreciate that her lessons and assignments are engaging and fun while still being challenging for her students. We need more teachers like this…

Every once in awhile, if you are very lucky, you come across a teacher who is so loving, dedicated, creative, smart and compassionate that he or she can literally change the course of a child’s life. [Jefferson’s] Marisa Amador Stoessel is one of those rare, amazing teachers.

[Marshall School’s] Ms. [Shira] Lincoln, is the best teacher I could have ever had. She is happy everyday and makes learning fun. I love her so much. 

Just want to take a moment of your time to mention a teacher I describe as ” the Legendary Ms. West” [at Seth Boyden] who teaches my grand-daughter and of whom I have heard only good things. She does not hesitate to give her students personal attention. 

[Clinton School’s] Bebe Greenberg…is an inspiration to all teachers, including myself. She is able to differentiate lesson plans and make every single child feel special and capable.

CHS ‘s Mr. Cotter has gone above and beyond to make sure his [Advanced Placement US History] students are ready for this week’s test. He has encouraged them for the past two years. He has arranged study groups during spring break, in the mornings before the PARCC and multiple evenings. He has made my son like writing outlines and essays and has put up with his horrendous handwriting!

It’s a gift [for] our towns…for [CHS] Principal [Elizabeth] Aaron to have emerged and taken the lead role at CHS. She is intelligent, compassionate, tireless and passionate about CHS. I believe CHS is the glue that holds SOMA together.

Each year, I think we get lucky…to have ended up in class with that teacher. You know the one. The one everyone hopes they get. The one who does that great project or always plans the best field trips. The one who all the kids and parents love. The one they’ll remember and tell their little brothers and sisters about, generating new excitement in children who aren’t even in school yet. Well, here’s what I’ve learned after seven years of having children in Clinton Elementary School and South Orange Middle School. I don’t think we’re lucky at all. I think what we have here in South Orange-Maplewood School District is amazing and special and unique and impressively consistent. There is no one story or one teacher that made a “real difference” for my children. It has been the cumulative effect of different teachers and varying approaches and strengths that has made both of their experiences perfectly exceptional for each of them.

Want to share your story of a SOMSD teacher — past or present — who made a difference in your child’s life? Post them on the Let’s Talk page here.



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