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Joanna Clayton – Reading Elementary

There are those who teach as a job and those who change lives when they teach. Mrs. Joanna Clayton is a life-changing teacher. It is easier to teach those awesome students to whom everything comes easily. My son is not that student. He works hard for everything that he learns and does so with a great attitude. This causes his teacher more work and for my wife and I.

Earlier this year when my son was struggling on some items, Mrs. Clayton took time to hear us about what we were seeing as the problem. She took the time to work with us as a team to help him be successful. She showed genuine concern and interest in his success. She pointed us in the direction of in school resources, made time to review his work when it was wrong and sent home extra work so that we could practice with him and help him get caught up with his class. She took the time to listen, find a plan, and give him confidence in himself.

Mrs. Clayton puts her heart and soul into her class and her students. When my son was trying hard and scored low on a test-her heartfelt emotions and caring showed through when she got a misty eyed. She did not write him off or abandon him. She worked with us to double down on him-change things either on her end or by helping us to try different techniques at home. She did not give up on our son.

For a fourth grader, who by standardized tests was well below grade level, the Harry Potter books would be a challenge. When he stated that he wanted to read them she encouraged him. As he progressed through the books, she praised him. When he finished the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before we had purchased the next book, Mrs. Clayton again showed her true caring and kindness by bringing her personal copy from home and loaning it to him so he could continue reading and not lose interest. She has invested herself into our son.

I could go on and on about little things that Mrs. Clayton does for her students. There are the late evening emails, a willingness to meet before, during, or after school with concerned parents, and a dozen other small things that she does constantly. I believe her greatest asset is how much she cares. She does not care just about the grades-but about the students behind the grades. She does not care about perfection, but that her students are working to perfect themselves. She does not care that some do not get it on the first try, she cares that they try until they get it. She cares about the right things-her students.
-Robert Gomez