'Shower' held for beginning teachers

By Stina Sieg | Dec 17, 2012
Photo by: Stina Sieg New Clyde Elementary teacher  Paige Tilley smiles over her bounty from the Beginning Teachers Shower, held Tuesday. See more photos online at www.themountaineer.com.

CLYDE — Be greedy.

Teachers don't often say such things to their students, but new instructors heard that mantra over and over Tuesday afternoon. During the third annual Beginning Teachers Shower, more than 40 newly minted instructors at Haywood County Schools were encouraged to not be polite as they grabbed gobs of supplies for their classrooms.

The free, mad-dash shopping spree was set up inside the Education Center in Clyde and featured tables upon tables heaped with pencils, white boards, books, crayons and so much more. When set lose, the first-year teachers crammed all they could (and then some) into boxes and bags, and often giggled and smiled as they hauled off their loot.

Kevin Kimbrough, a 24-year-old band teacher at Bethel Middle School, looked happy but a bit sheepish to be getting so many goodies for his students.

"I kind of felt like I was stealing from people," he said, with a slightly embarrassed grin.

That's noble, but it couldn't be farther from the truth. Open to all 48 first-year instructors, this event was meant as a gift from Haywood County Schools, Haywood County Schools Foundation, State Employees Credit Union, Alpha Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Gamma. Locals in the community also donated supplies.

What most people don't realize is that teachers, not schools, buy the majority of classroom supplies. First thought of by Human Resources Director Carol Douglas, who works with beginning teachers, this shower tries to fill a gap that often costs instructors hundreds of dollars each year. In addition to the no-holds-barred shopping experience, teachers were given a $100 check and door prizes that ranged from a digital camera to Walmart gift cards.

For many of these newbie instructors, the experience was overwhelming, even for those who aren't so wet behind the ears. New Pisgah High School Spanish instructor Horacio Hernandez has been teaching since 1970, but he's never worked in high schools — and he's never been given a welcome like this. The 61-year-old native of the Dominican Republic beamed as he got ready to take his cache of supplies back to Canton.

"This is a kind of wonderful event," Hernandez said.

This type of thing simply isn't done in college, where he taught for years, he explained. It's just one of the reasons he's happy to be here, in this job — and in this place.

"I love it," he said.

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