DeSoto County Schools Teacher of the Year Comments

Written by: Shirley Ramsay, Lewisburg Middle School

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.  I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized here today among so many outstanding educators.  To be perfectly honest I am not comfortable speaking in front of adults, so if you will indulge me I am going to imagine that you are all 6th graders.  That means that before I begin one of you will need a pencil, someone else will need paper, not to mention homework left in the locker, a band aide for a paper cut, and someone else REALLY needs to use the restroom.  After taking care of these and many other pressing needs I can now get started.

A very wise woman once told me that people are placed in our path for a lifetime or a season, but each one is placed there for a purpose.  I firmly believe that each child we teach is put before us to be nurtured and loved.  Teachers usually feel that we are the ones teaching the lessons, but if we are open to it, the students are the ones teaching us.  I have learned patience, compassion, empathy, and trust from my students.  I am a better person for the 20+ years I have spent in the company of my students.  Because of these hundreds of children and their influence, I am able to get up each day, put on a smile, and head off to the best job in the world!

As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to give our children roots and wings.  Thank you Mama, you gave me both.  Yet, you and daddy always recognized the outstanding teachers of New Albany City schools who saw potential in this small town girl and encouraged me to spread those wings and fly.  Throughout my teaching career, I have been blessed to be surrounded by outstanding educators and administrators who have supported me, taught me, and inspired me to keep learning, keep growing, and keep flying.  There are many to thank but I know that without my 6th grade sisters, I would not be here today.  Thank you ladies for reminding me how blessed I am to be with each of you every day.

We are privileged to work in Desoto County Schools, where one can walk into any building, or enter any classroom and find a caring and compassionate teacher.  These warriors for children understand that before a child can learn he must first feel safe, secure, and valued.  It is only after we have established this relationship that we can approach the curriculum.  As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”  Here in Desoto County Schools we wield that weapon every day and change the world one child at a time.