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Heidi Stuart – Sprucewood Elementary School

I have been listening to KSL Teacher Feature since I was a really young kid. I have always thought about nominating my Mother, but just haven’t ever done it. Well, it is about time.

It may seem weird to have the child of the teacher do the nomination rather than a student. The differences between me, a grown man (27 years old) and a young student are simple, yet profound. While most students and parents see a teacher at work for a full school year, they don’t see the effort that goes in behind the scenes. That is the big difference, I have seen it all.
I think my mother started her first year as a teacher in 1979 it may have been 1980. Other than a short sabbatical after the birth of my youngest sister in 1997 she has been teaching the whole time. Throughout her teaching career she has had to face the many challenges faced by other teachers from budget cuts to increased class sizes. But my mother has experience much more than that. As we all know, a teacher gathers and collects everything they can to provide an enriching experience for the kids.

Well, that all changed in 1994 when the school she was teaching at, Oquirrh Elementary (West Jordan), was destroyed by a fire. I was 9 at the time and I remember watching her cry when the fire crews decided the place they would rip open the school (to fight the fire) happened to be her classroom. EVERYTHING was destroyed almost the entire 14 years of collected supplies. Days later, she was one of the first on the scene when teachers were allowed to sift through the ruble to find anything they could salvage. She searched for hours upon hours just to find an ancient Mano and matate (corn grinding stone) from the ancient Fremont Indian Tribe. She found it, broken, but still used it for many years after the fire in teaching her students.

That is just one example of the love she has for her students as a teacher. This doesn’t include the many hours she spends at home grading papers, preparing lessons, making crafts, or taking care of monarch butterfly (caterpillars) that need fresh milkweed and water over the weekends.

I remember watching as she shaved a little spot on every pencil and wrote the students name on it at the beginning of each year, preparing a learning journal for each student or labeling their crayons and other materials so that they are welcomed with a gift on the first day of school. She has been a great example to me and my other siblings as a selfless individual who, no matter what, is more concerned about others than herself.

More than this, she is truly a teacher to me, having taught me since I was just a baby, for these 27 years. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. Will she win the teacher feature, I don’t know. But she has won already in my mind and this is just an effort to show my thanks for her and let her know that I Love her. She is my mother, my friend, and has and will continue to be…. My “Favorite”Teacher.

–Kevin Stuart