HUNTINGTON — Cabell County teachers returned to the classroom Wednesday, preparing for the new school year by finalizing lesson plans, completing training and decorating classrooms.
Teachers have one week before welcoming students back Aug. 17.
“It’s exciting to be normal,” said Huntington High School English teacher Beth Joyce. “I think we have forgotten what normal is, and I think a lot of students depend on the day-to-day routine of school being comfortable and feel safe to know what’s going to happen each day. Hopefully getting back to a school routine will make everybody just feel more comfortable.”
Joyce started teaching in Cabell County nearly 25 years ago, but spent the past 22 years teaching elsewhere before returning to Huntington High for the 2022-23 school year.
After recent years included quarantines, virtual school and sometimes daily changes, Joyce said being in the room, able to see her students’ faces and teaching her ninth-grade students the tips and tricks of high school is what she’s most excited about.
Sixth-grade social studies teacher Christian Griswold has been teaching career literacy for the past six years, but he is preparing to finally instruct the subject he went into the field to teach.
Griswold said having spent time teaching a subject he had not originally planned to teach made him more appreciative of the chance to teach social studies and history, the subject he really loves.
Teaching sixth-graders at Huntington East Middle School, Griswold said he looks forward to being some students’ first fully dedicated social studies class and being part of new experiences in middle school.
Griswold said it’s important for students, teachers and staff to communicate with each other during the new year. He wants teachers to know it is always OK to ask for help, and for students and parents to know everyone should be working together.
“My advice for kids is to talk to your teachers because we all have bad days, and if you’re having a bad day, an off day like you didn’t sleep at all last night or something like that, talk to us,” he said. “To the parents, I would say we are here for you and for your kids, and at the end of the day, we want to see them reach their highest potential.”
Courtney Sybor, 23, graduated from West Virginia University just last week and will begin teaching math to freshmen at Cabell Midland High School next week.
Sybor said she is both excited and nervous to be a new teacher, but the closer she gets to the first day of school, the more excited she gets to start sharing her love of math.
Sybor said she knows that not all students will leave her classroom loving math, but she hopes to teach them about solving problems and using those problem-solving skills in the real world.
In addition to keeping her classroom informative, Sybor said she wants to create a welcoming and positive environment for the students. She’s decided one way to do that is by adding a mirror to the classroom.
“I’m going to have a mirror by the door for when they come in and out of the classroom just for them to say, ‘Here’s how I look today. Here’s how I want to be today,’” she said. “With that will be some different pictures with positive quotes. Part of it is for me; part of it is for the students to just have some sort of positive mindset for the day.”