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Teacher of the Day

Name: Lori Cooper

School: Camden Middle School

Subject: English

State:  South Carolina

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

In high school I remember, as a ninth-grader, being asked by my algebra teacher if I could try to explain to the class a concept they couldn't seem to grasp. I took on the challenge and remember the strong feeling of excitement and fulfillment when I saw the first person understand through me. Words cannot describe it. I clearly remember every moment of that experience (what I said, how I wrote my explanation on the board, the questions my fellow students had and how the teacher reacted, both verbally and non-verbally). It was one of those defining moments in a person's life that embeds itself in the heart and mind.

How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?

When I first started teaching, funding for schools was a top priority. Economic times were good then, and enriching programs were on the rise. Students at the elementary school where I taught were offered classes like dance, drama, visual art and music. Our school was able to fund these programs and more. Now our arts offerings are few and far between. It saddens me how this generation of students is missing out.

What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?

This truly is the greatest profession in the world. Keep your focus on the things which you can control (your expectaions for your students, your relationships with them and your own attitude). What you are doing is making a difference. The fingerprints we as educators leave on the lives we touch are everlasting. Make sure they are positive ones.

My best day in the classroom was when…

every day is the best day for me because I truly am doing what I love. My students are my heart, and I look forward to getting up and going to work every single day.

The best compliment I ever received was...

when a former student told me that he hopes that one day he impacts the lives of children in the same way I impacted his life.

What's your favorite part of the school year?

I love the start of a new year. It's like opening a present and finding its contents are more than you ever could have imagined. I also like the last month or two of the year, when I've really gotten to know my students and we've become like family.

What is your one must-have item for the classroom?

My precious students, of course.

What do you eat for breakfast on school days?

I usually eat a bowl of cereal and two cups of coffee with vanilla creamer and Splenda.

What movie or TV show do you secretly love?

The Middle on ABC.

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