What we do
Summer worth savoring, but students beckon again
By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS
Published July 21, 2006
Joyce Lynn Haseltine leafs through a copy of the Wall Street Journal. In the past few weeks of summer, she has developed an affection for the paper.
[Times photo: Skip O'Rourke]
TEACHER: Joyce Haseltine.
She finally has time to read it.
A teacher at Lithia Springs Elementary, Haseltine, 52, savors her summers off. During the school year, Haseltine teaches 13 students who have speech, language and behavioral conditions.
Small feats are big deals in her classroom.
"I call them hallelujah moments," Haseltine said.
Like this one: Last August, a student struggled with writing the letter A. For him, drawing the three necessary pencil strokes was a cumbersome task to master.
Haseltine had a project.
She encouraged the child to try again after each mistake. She praised every sign of progress. Self-esteem is big in her classroom.
In April, the boy came to her with a piece of paper. On it, a perfectly printed letter A.
One letter down, 25 to go.
She smiles when she recalls the moment.
Sitting on her couch, clad in adidas gym clothes, she says she looks forward to the weeks that stretch out before her. Plans of household redecorating, reading, and travel fill the hot days of June and July.
But all her Wall Street Journals won't be able to stave off the listlessness that accompanies two months of free time.
By the end of summer, she says she'll be ready to return to her students, the workdays that begin at 7:30 a.m., and the strict schedules that mandate her time.
Haseltine enjoys the new beginnings that accompany each fall, the fresh well-rested faces of her fellow teachers, the students' stories of summer camps and family trips.
Her 2006-07 school year will be particularly full of new beginnings. Haseltine is starting a new position at Valrico Elementary as a resource teacher. She is looking forward to working with smaller groups of special needs students.
She's sorry to leave the staff and her students at Lithia, but she lives by her motto: Change equals growth.
Helen Anne Travis can be reached at 661-2439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Last modified July 21, 2006, 09:12:41]
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