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Teacher encourages students to challenge

AMERICUS — For Sumter Intermediary School Teacher of the Year Leah Henderson, teaching is a combination of big challenges and big rewards, rewards that might not always be easy to quantify, but that resonate to the core of a teacher’s being.
“The growth that I see in my students is what drives me to come to work every day,” said Henderson. “Whether that growth is from benchmark tests, behavior improvements, taking an interest in school, or coming out of their shell, it is worth all the time and effort exerted on my part. Though some of this growth can’t truly be measured, my heart has found a way to measure, pack, and fit all of that growth inside and it fills me with the joy I need to be the best teacher that I can.”
On being a good teacher, Henderson’s solution is simple.
“Teaching is for the hard working individuals who know how to do the possible with the impossible for their students,” she said.
Unlike some teachers who want to rule the roost and have the students speak when they are spoken to, Henderson likes to be challenged in the classroom and sees that as an essential part of the education of her students.
“As a science teacher, I don’t shy away from the ‘why’ questions that make some of the other teachers think their teaching ability or authority have been questioned,” she said. “I enjoy enlightening my students on the ‘whys’ of the science world and of life. I think the time I take to explain the reasons behind the rules, school activities, and other things help to convey to my students that they are an equal partner in their education because they know why they do what they do.”