SOUTHERN COLORADO — Teachers have risen to the challenge throughout the pandemic, and this week, we're recognizing educators who have gone above and beyond because it's Teacher Appreciation Week.
On Monday, teachers at Penrose Elementary School were recognized for all their hard work in the classroom. People dropped off goody bags, food, and positive messages.
"It's been really nice to know that the community is behind us, and they really appreciate what we're doing," said Mary Bair, a fifth grade teacher at Penrose Elementary School. "I did get a gift already that was really sweet. I think this week is a great opportunity for us to remember what an important job being an educator is."
Their jobs have been that much more important during the pandemic.Teachers have overcome so many hurdles and obstacles to still be able to educate students, and the school year for them, has been far from normal.
"For everyone, it's been so difficult and we've all been stressed not knowing what's going to happen," said Bair. "Particularly, it's been hard because the reason we're teachers, is to be with kids. So when we're separated through screens, it's not the same, and it's been hard to build those relationships with the kids."
Students at Penrose Elementary School returned to in-person learning back in January after working remote for most of the year.
Meanwhile, the school year has also been all about adapting and changing lesson plans last minute.
"We're still trying to do our job to the best of our ability, to provide the best education to our students. "We were building the plane while we were flying it. For a lot a people, it feels like it's our first year all over again. We're having to re-learn and re-invent things," said Sarah Alexander, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Corwin International Magnet School in Pueblo.
Alexander has been teaching for 18 years and said this Teacher Appreciation Week packs a bigger punch this year.
"We're feeling like we're noticed for the things we do. I think that sometimes as an educator, we operate in the background, although this year and last year, that was a little different," said Alexander. "I still love my job, I love my kids, and I'm very excited to implement some of the things that I've learned this year, into next year, without masks hopefully and maybe less than 3-feet distance."
Teacher Appreciation Week runs through Friday, May 7, as the school year wraps up in a couple weeks.
"We've got the last few weeks of school, so it gives us that extra umph to get through the year, and know that people out there appreciate the hard work we've been doing," said Bryan Kolasinski, a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Penrose Elementary. "But I think it takes a village. It's not just us, it's parents and it's other people in the community.