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|Teachers ready to motivate, fascinate|
While students soak up the last few days of their summer vacation, many local teachers can be found in their classrooms preparing for the start of a new school year.
For some, it seems like they never left.
Boley Elementary's first grade teacher Dianne McVay is one of those teachers who "worked all summer."
McVay decided to get a head start in preparing her classroom since she will be gone during the upcoming in-service days teachers undergo each year prior to a new school year.
Parish school system students will return to class Aug. 18.
"I've got to get everything ready by Thursday, and then I'll be gone for a week," McVay said.
So far, McVay has decorated her classroom with wall decorations and bulletin boards. She also has arranged the desks for the two dozen students she'll greet on their first day as first-graders.
"The room was empty, and I've been working all summer to get it ready," McVay said.
McVay has been teaching for 32 years all over the country. This will be her fourth year at Boley Elementary.
McVay has taught first grade for the past 17 years. She also has taught kindergarten and third grade.
She enjoys teaching the "little ones" who still have that fascination and excitement about school.
"They're still excited and they love their teachers," McVay said. "It's wonderful to just watch them grow. I ran into one this summer at the mall who will be in first grade. He jumped and looked at me and said, 'You go to my school.' I said, 'yes, I'm going to be your teacher.' "
Boley's fourth and fifth grade reading teacher Kathy Schaff started preparing her classroom about two weeks ago.
On Monday, she was busy placing bulletins and decorations and unloading boxes of reading materials.
"If you want to have things up in your room before school starts, you really don't have a choice … you have to come in and work," Schaff said. "It takes a few weeks to put everything up, depending on how much you took down the year before."
Like most teachers, Schaff loves the first day of school.
"They're excited, even though you don't think of the kids as being excited about school," Schaff said. "But when they get here they're excited, you're excited, and it's a whole new experience."
Schaff has taught in the parish school system for 10 years. For the past seven years she has taught at Boley.
She's also taught first and second grades as well as the fourth and fifth grades.
"I do like the fourth and fifth graders because you can have real discussions with them," Schaff continued. "But it doesn't matter to me. They all can do different things. You like different things about all the grades."
One exciting new aspect about the new school year will be the implementation of a new reading program at parish schools.
Both McVay and Schaff said students should love the new reading series because it will give them the chance to read new stories.
"The whole parish is getting ready for the new reading series, and it should be interesting because we're teaching a new book," Schaff explained. "We always have seven years with our books, but this year we'll have new stories, and new topics. After teaching the same thing, it's great to get something new."
She said the new material should benefit her fourth and fifth graders who sometimes need some motivation to read.
"You really have to keep them motivated because at this age they decide it's not so much fun anymore," Schaff said. "It was fun to learn and fun to have people read to them, but now we have to find things that will encourage them to read more."
Also new for this year is the school system's focus on having teachers work more in little groups. McVay believes that style of teaching will help those students who are behind in some areas.
"That's how we used to teach a long time ago, and they're going back to that, so that's exciting," McVay said. "We have some who don't know their letters and we've got some who are reading. I think working with these little groups will give us the opportunity to get those who need it caught up with the others."