For some, its just a job.
For third grade A.B. Chandler Elementary School Teacher, Mrs. Francis, its a passion.
“I love being around kids. I love seeing that light go off when they learn something new, love those hugs at the end of the day, its just rewarding,” said Beth Francis,a longtime elementary school teacher in Henderson County.
This is Mrs. Francis’ 24th first day of school, but this teacher has invested much more than years into her classroom.
“The first year I taught I probably spent $500, and didn’t have a paycheck yet, because you don’t get paid until after the school year starts. I didn’t have any books for my shelf, I didn’t have some of the materials I needed,” said Francis.
She is not the only one.
“There is really no telling how much they spend, but they do it because they love it, and they don’t really look at the dollar amount because they love what they do everyday,” said Brandy Haley, Principal of A.B. Chandler Elementary.
Every year, thousands of teachers like Mrs.Francis pour countless hours of their own time, and hundreds of their own dollars, to make sure every child that walks through their door has everything they need.
“I count it as me paying it forward, so I don’t feel like I have to be reimbursed. Its kind of my way to reach out to families,” said Francis.
Some children need this more than others.
This is what Francis calls the hard part of her job.
“I’ve gone home crying before, but you just have to constantly pat them on the back, make them feel good about themselves, don’t ever bring them down,” said Francis.
She says when the bell rings, passion is what keeps driving her forward.
But, of course, a couple of “thank you’s” may not hurt.
“Sure it means a lot, but a hug is the same thing. Or ‘I can’t wait to see you Monday, you know, that all works,” said Francis.
A.B. Chandler Elementary, like many local schools, also has a Family Resource Center for families struggling to afford school supplies.
The Family Resource Center helps families with getting back to school clothes, weekend meals, and even holiday assistance.
The Family Resource Center provided roughly 24 backpacks full of basic school supplies to Jefferson and A.B. Chandler Elementary students in need Wednesday on the first day back to school.
If your student or anyone you know needs assistance from the Family Resource Center, click here.