Copperas Cove Independent School District teachers, faculty and other staff members headed to campuses more than a week before students to prepare for another year of educating young minds.
“Usually by Aug. 1 we are all ready to get back to our rooms,” said Emma Shumaker, a first-grade teacher at Mae Steven Elementary School.
Shumaker, who has taught in Cove for 11 years and spent six years as first-grade teacher, normally picks up her classroom and building keys on Aug. 1. She then goes into her classroom, looks over various materials for decorating and programs and creates a schedule.
“I have been teaching so long I get it done pretty quickly,” she said about preparing her room. “At this point right now, I need to put names on lockers and desk. At this point, I am pretty relaxed because I am just waiting to meet the kids.”
Shumaker sets up her room quickly, works on lesson plans and prepares random programs because she is eager for the first day of school, she said.
Seeing teachers such as Shumaker walk Cove ISD campus halls before school starts is a testament to their dedication to the students, said Marla Sullivan, Williams/Ledger Elementary School principal.
With some 70 teachers and other educational instructors at the school, Williams/Ledger teachers are seen on campuses early mornings, late nights and on weekends to prep for the start of classes on Monday.
“I have had teachers here from 7:30 or 8 p.m. last night,” she said.
At Mae Stevens Elementary School, teachers are doing the same, said Mary Derrick, the campus’s principal.
“Some of these teachers have been up working endless hours already,” Derrick said.
“They have been working around the clock to prepare. One teacher and I have a battled every night to see who is the last to stay.”
Teachers aren’t the only ones who have been preparing for the school year. Principals have worked throughout the summer planning in-service and pre-service days, Sullivan said. They also reviewed assessments and looked for ways to improve their campuses.
On Monday, teachers started in-service training with the district. They reviewed Cove ISD-wide goals and learned about new policies and teaching curriculum. Monday and Tuesday were spent working at a variety of campuses, and Wednesday, teachers were allowed back into their own campuses for team-building exercises and classroom work before the district’s convocation in the afternoon.
Most campuses’ Meet the Teacher nights were held Thursday. Teachers spent time on their campuses Thursday and Friday.
“There is a lot of challenges but in the end it all pays off, because in the end you get to do this job every day and that is a nice thing,” Shumaker said.