From eight to four, she’s their mom, and they’re her little ones.
“This is a family. I have a family at home, and I have a family here,” said Bev Roach, a third-grade teacher at Churchville Elementary School in Augusta County and the 2008 Augusta County Teacher of the Year.
Roach is in her 32nd year in teaching, all at the elementary level. For the longest time, she thought she’d never be able to give up kindergarten and particularly first grade. “At that age, you’re still helping them with tying their shoes and the beginning stages of reading, and still the newness of the school schedule,” Roach said.
Third grade is gratifying for its own reasons. “They’re older, have more maturity under their belts, so schedules don’t take as long to comprehend. The basic reading skills are there, but you’re delving into more. And you also add more with the social studies and sciences. But they’re still young enough that they still love you, and you belong to them. And they still want to be at school,” Roach said.
Third grade is an important year academically and otherwise. “You’re teaching them all the life skills of how to stay organized and how to maintain a study habit. And at this age you’re reinforcing manners and reinforcing friendships. It’s really a building block,” Roach said. “Every year with their maturity level more steps are added, more and more responsibility is added. But this is such a tender age, because they’re just starting to come out and learn that they are responsible for things,” Roach said.
After 32 years, you can still hear the enthusiasm for teaching when Roach talks.
“This is so cool to be here – because I can be an actress and a teacher and a mom and a friend all rolled up into one. And every day I walk in that day is different, because there’s 20 kids in my room, and everybody is bringing their own special package, and that causes all kinds of new little crystals to form. Oh, it’s awesome. This is the best job ever. I’ve never considered this a job. It’s a way of life,” Roach said.
– Story by Chris Graham