Thank Alabama Teachers Week: Madison Co. teacher has message for fellow educators

Juggling traditional and virtual learning

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Words carry a lot of power, and two very specific words can go a long way: thank you.

Sparkman High School teacher Amber Kimbrell says virtual learning is getting smoother, but she says she believes in person is much more effective.
Sparkman High School teacher Amber Kimbrell says virtual learning is getting smoother, but she says she believes in person is much more effective. (Source: WAFF)

Thank you is the message the State Department of Education is hoping every teacher hears this week, and every week!

That’s because it’s ‘Thank Alabama Teachers Week.'

It’s no secret this year has created a lot of new challenges.

Amber Kimbrell, the science department chair at Sparkman High School, is teaching more than 100 students in person and around 50 online.

“At first it was very difficult, I was not doing the best job that I could because I just didn’t know how. Last time, in March, it was just more of a stop gap, let’s just get to May," Kimbrell said.

Kimbrell says virtual learning is getting better, but for her, in person teaching works best.

“Teachers some how we have this sixth sense, I see that face, I know what that means, and we can help the student right then shore up any misconceptions," she said.

And she’s not the only one who feels that way.

“Some of our better teachers, the ones that are just going to go through it come hell or high water are reaching out to us and saying I’m exhausted, I don’t know how much longer I can do this," William Tunnell said.

William Tunnell with the Alabama Education Association says he’s received complaints from teachers about virtual lesson plans.

“She said if I have to do that William, I’m going to the office and I’m turning in my retirement papers, she said because I didn’t sign up to push out less than quality curriculum to our kids. I actually care that they’re going to get a good education for this, as best as I can make it,” Tunnell said.

How can parents help?

“Don’t wait until the grades have suffered to the point of now I see a D in their progress report and now I’m suddenly interested, what happened? So stay on top of it daily," Tunnell suggested.

Kimbrell says to all her fellow teachers out there: “You keep it up. You know what’s best for the kids, you know what’s best for you. Everyone’s on your side."

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