By Holly Penta
Frances Sarpy, a 2nd grade teacher at Fairview Alpha Elementary, is “dedicated to making every child feel like they have someone on their side. She knows that kids face problems at home that the school may not be aware of and that the school may be the only positive influence or place they feel safe, so she makes an extra effort to ensure that each student feels welcome.
Although Sarpy has had countless “meaningful moments” during her 14 years of teaching, she says teaching a shy girl to read was the most memorable. Teaching children to read and watching their confidence grow is one of her favorite parts of teaching, but this particular case was special. One year, a little girl brought her imaginary friends to school to learn to read alongside her. She was so excited by reading that she told her imaginary friends about it. Once they heard, she said they couldn’t wait to come to school, so she brought them along. Sarpy played along, but before long the girl was confident enough to come to school without her imaginary friends and was an avid reader by the end of the school year.
When Sarpy was a new teacher, she was given some useful advice that she wants to relay to other new teachers. “You do not have to love kids, but you have to like them,” she said. “A clear passion for teaching will encourage kids to rise to the occasion.”
She believes that every child has the ability to lead and that it is the teachers’ duty to meet them where they are and nurture them the rest of the way. She said, “Every day is a new day to make a difference in a child’s life by showing how much I prioritize my students.”
She said she “absolutely loves” her job and it’s clear that her students absolutely love her.