We've all had them. That teacher who goes above and beyond, who spends the extra time when you don't quite understand, who helped you see things from a different perspective, or who taught you something about life that a textbook just couldn't.
For many students who have attended Piney Ridge Elementary School in Eldersburg, that educator might be music teacher Rachel McCusker, who was recently chosen as Carroll County's Teacher of the Year from among nearly 400 nominees and eight finalists.
McCusker's colleagues and students say it's her ability to connect music lessons to the regular curriculum, allowing students to better understand the concepts and how they apply in the real world, helped her earn the honor as the county's top teacher. For example, she recently taught students the connection between music notes and ratios in math. One parent also noted how McCusker helped her child, who was shy and never smiled, to feel confident and proud by becoming a member of the chorus.
McCusker is just one example of the many great teachers we have in Carroll County.
This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and today, May 5, is National Teacher Appreciation Day, making it the perfect time for students, parents and colleagues to thank educators like McCusker for all the wonderful things they do.
While current students and their parents may share a token of their appreciation with teachers today, the National Educators Association and the National PTA have offered a way for people to reach out to both current and past educators and tell the world how much a particular teacher meant by posting a message on social media using the hashtag #ThankATeacher. Think of it as the modern day way of taking your favorite teacher that polished apple.
It's a simple way to show graciousness for all that they do, and a great way to let a past teacher who might not realize how much of an affect they've had one someone's life know they are appreciated.
Being a teacher can, at times, be a thankless job. We should be thanking them every day for the role they play in shaping the lives of our next generation. But particularly, on this day and this week, we should take the opportunity to let educators know how much of a difference they make in the world.