Whiting Elementary School Teacher of the Year Speech Mrs. Loreen Reiman It is truly an honor to be standing here tonight. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be chosen as Whiting School’s Teacher of the year. As I thought about what I wanted to say tonight, I tried to remember other Teacher of the Year speeches. Then I began surveying people to see what they thought I should include. I was given many suggestions and ideas, but two really stood out. One person told me that the teachers from the high school usually say profound things and quote famous people, teachers from the middle school usually say things that make the audience laugh and the elementary people usually say mushy and sentimental things. Another person I surveyed said I should say what was on my heart and it would be fine. I thought about all of this, wondering where my speech would fit in. I hunted through papers and reread the Philosophy of Education that I had created to decide if I wanted to include some of those profound ideas. I wondered if I could say something amusing to make the audience laugh, but realized that the people who think I am funny are either in 5th grade, or in my house- laughing at me, not with me. I also thought about including one of my favorite quotes, which I keep on my desk and try to live by every day. But what really kept going through my mind was to say how thankful I am. I am truly thankful for being considered worthy of such an honor. The fact that my colleagues thought enough of me to nominate me and vote for me is such an overwhelming blessing. I decided to just thank everyone and give credit where credit is due. So, I guess I am staying true to form by being mushy and sentimental like all of the elementary people. Looking back, I realize that my thanks have to start with people who influenced me a long time ago and put me on the path I am on today. In fact, two people who influenced me back then are here tonight- Kevin Burger and Abby Clark. I hope they won’t mind me telling how far back we go. You see, I am a graduate of the Manchester Twp High School and had both of them as teachers. I am very grateful for the education I received from them and by others in this district. Through the leadership of the board and the hard work of the teachers, I was well equipped to face the challenges of life. Things have now come full circle and I have the privilege of working with Abby’s daughter, Julie, as my 5th grade teaching partner at Whiting School. To Mr. Trethaway and the Board Of Education, thank you for allowing me to work for this wonderful district in many capacities- substitute teacher, school secretary, student teacher, long term substitute, and now 5th grade teacher. I believe that one of the only jobs I haven’t done in this district is custodian, although sometimes when I am cleaning up at the end of the day, I realize I may have earned that title, too. Thank you so much for the tuition assistance program which allowed me to continue my education through a wonderful program at Rider University. Because of you, I believe I am a better teacher today. As I took each class, I was able to grasp how special and ahead of the curve Manchester Twp really was and is- because the things I was learning were already being implemented in our district. I could not have done it without your help. Next I would like to thank Marge Stevens. Every day she showed me what “The Little School with the Big Heart” was all about. Marge always encouraged me to be the best I could be. She gave me advice and helped me realize a dream that I didn’t even know that I had. I am so grateful. Dr. Fran Scudese is the next person I would like to thank. Fran gave me my first “real” teaching job as a long term substitute in kindergarten at MTES. From day one, Fran treated me as a professional. She had confidence in me, but also gave me the support I needed. Now I have the privilege of working for her again, this time at Whiting School, and I am very grateful that she continues to support me and have confidence in me. The next person I need to thank is Nikki Mazur. I had the privilege of student teaching in Nikki’s 5th grade classroom when I first started out and now that is my classroom. Nikki offered constructive criticism in the best possible way. She modeled reflective teaching so that it became ingrained in my teaching style. I hope I am making you proud in Room 1. Thank you. To all of the teachers and staff I have worked with over the years, I want to say thank you. You are an amazing group of people and I am thinking of each and every one of you as I say this. I have had so much fun and learned so much from Marianne, Shari, Jane, Amy and Bonnie. I have worked with so many wonderful people over the years and am blessed to work directly with two great ones again this year- Donna Cade and Pat Hoppe. And there are many, many more people to mention, but I’ve already talked too long and I don’t want everyone to get mad at me. Just know that I love you all. Thank you for your collaboration, for sharing resources and ideas, and your dedication to every student. Thanks to all of you for working together with me. You are a great team and living examples of excellence in education. One other big thank you I need to give is to all of my wonderful students and their parents. You are the reason I come to work everyday. You make my life a joy. You have challenged me, made me laugh, and made me cry. You have given me loads of love over the years and I love you right back. You are the reason we are all here and you are amazing! Okay, I’m almost done. Many thanks to my mom and dad for telling me I could accomplish my goals, even when things got tough. I am also thankful to my sister and brother for their encouragement and excitement as I traveled this path and for letting me use their children as guinea pigs when I wanted to try out a lesson. Last and most importantly, I thank my husband Dave and children Lisa and Doug for encouraging me to go back to school to get my teaching certification and later my Master’s degree. Thank you for not complaining when you had to cook dinner or eat leftovers, or do other thing around the house since I was now otherwise occupied. Thank you for helping me set up my classroom, make copies and for volunteering in my class. Thank you for encouraging me to do something for myself, for telling me to do my homework and not complaining about my long hours. And special thanks to my husband for his confidence in my abilities and telling me I will always be his teacher of the year. Your support and confidence in me has made all the difference. So let me end with this little quote by Benjamin Franklin from Poor Richard’s Almanac. Mr. Franklin said, “Speak little, do much”. I haven’t been a very good example of that tonight, but all of the people I mentioned tonight have been examples of this in my life. I am grateful to all of you, and very honored to be named Whiting School’s Teacher of the Year. Thank you.