Over the last few weeks, I have had an opportunity to sit down with many of the teachers at Marshall to reflect on the school year. These are some of my most enjoyable meetings, because the topics vary depending on the person and their interests.

One overlapping theme is present in all the conversations, though: the passion our faculty show for their work. It is clear they all care deeply about their subject(s), students, and this school.

Teachers who have joined Marshall recently most often talk about what a pleasure it is to come to Marshall and focus on teaching kids who are eager to learn, without the distractions that often plagued them elsewhere. With teachers who have been here longer, we often talk about new projects or ideas that are peculating in the school. I am impressed by the willingness to try new things — to model the risk taking that we want to see in our students.

As I reflect on our faculty during Teacher Appreciation Week, I realize quite quickly that whatever kudos I might give will pale in comparison to the praise of their students.

So, let me conclude these reflections with some comments from surveys I have been administering for our faculty over the past month. They say it better than I ever could.

Marshall Student Comments from Teacher End-of-Year Surveys

“You can be yourself and not be afraid to laugh at something. I like that my teacher is super nice to everyone and doesn’t have a favorite student. And the classroom feels like home. I feel like I get to see her more than I really do. This is fun and exiting.”

“He tries to get to know you and tries to see your strengths and weaknesses. He makes it a fun learning environment, such as, fun projects to help you understand the subject more clearly.”

“I get as much out of the class as I put into it, she always is on top of what we’re doing so it’s not too difficult to keep on eye on how I’m doing in it. We are always occupied in class and there’s no wasted time, so we cover a good amount of material in an efficient manner.”

“I love her enthusiasm. You can tell that she really loves what she is doing, which makes going to class much more enjoyable.”

“THERE ARE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO GET extra help outside of class and the teacher is very good at explaining assignments and helping understand topics better. I also like how we have a chance to ask about homework in class to ensure full understanding.”

“[The teacher] promotes my enthusiasm with her own passion and academic interest. I find that not only does this class come easy for me, but I enjoy ever minute of every hour. The subject material isn’t dry or lacking in depth.”

“The lesson plan is always organized and pre-planned. Everything is centrally focused on the topic of study.”

“She takes pride in her work and will not let us settle for less than our best.”

On behalf of our 470 students: “Thank You” to the Marshall faculty.