A career in the classroom means caring for students and believing in their ability to achieve, a professional educator said.

A former student taught Susan McClelland a lesson she’ll never forget.”He showed me that the most important thing is to believe in the ability of students,” said McClelland, once a teacher at Oxford High School and now an assistant professor of K-12 leadership education at the University of Mississippi.
McClelland was the special guest on March 3 at the annual Inspirational Teacher Luncheon hosted by the Tupelo High School chapter of the Future Educators Association. Her remarks in the Harrisburg Baptist Church fellowship hall were to two groups, she said: “The group of people who have the desire to touch lives of future children – the young people who want to make a difference – and the teachers who are making a difference.”
McClelland had her own inspirational teachers along the way, including those “who picked me up when I was down, dusted me off and put me back on the right path.”
Such teachers, she said, showed that caring for students come first.
“Teacher-learner relationships are founded on the fundamental need of knowing that another human being genuinely cares,” McClelland said. “Caring is the very bedrock of all successful education.”
The THS FEA chapter held its first Inspirational Teacher Luncheon in 1997, and Sharon Davis has been recognized nine out of 12 years. Last week, she was honored by two students at the masquerade-themed event.
“This is the most special award that I get, because these are my students,” the physics teacher said.
Kate Kellum, a senior, and junior Jessica Wallace said they want to be teachers like Davis so they can help others learn to the best of their ability.
“She makes every student feel special and is always eager to help,” Kate said, to which Jessica added, “She treats us like people, not just another kid.”
James Orr recognized THS anatomy and physiology teacher Audra Jones.
“You can just tell that she cares and encourages students greatly,” the senior said.
Judy Beard, one of three FEA sponsors, said the chapter was formed in the mid-1990s with 15-20 members and has grown over the years to 180.
When students honor their teachers and become educators themselves, “It’s very special,” she said. “We need good teachers, and especially for students to care about others, we need that.”
Contact Ginny Miller at (662) 678-1582 or ginny.miller@djournal.com.

Ginny Miller

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