Teachers advise students to ‘do their best’ on first day

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Parkview Elementary fifth-grade teacher Susan Rogers sorts through papers she will be giving to her students Thursday on the first day of school. Rogers said she plans to retire at the end of this school year after 20 years of teaching.

Sharna Johnson

Today marks the last day of summer for thousands of area students as they prepare to return to Clovis classrooms Thursday.

Officials have estimated 8,900 students will attend the district’s 17 schools this year.

Parkview Elementary fifth-grade teacher Susan Rogers said her advice to students as they prepare to start the school year is to listen to their teachers, show respect and responsibility and to “do their best and be their best.”

Clovis Municipal Schools officials have said they are expecting almost 2,000 new students in the next four years.

School leaders say most of those new students are the result of expansion at Cannon Air Force Base, and most of those will be elementary students.

Teachers at Parkview Elementary were busy Tuesday with meetings and last-minute preparations to their classrooms.

Rogers, a 20-year veteran, said the first day of school is the same every year.

While she has seen education and society change in her years of teaching, “Kids on the first day of school haven’t changed a bit,” she said.

“They’re on their best behavior and they’re glad to be back.”

This is her last year before retirement, Rogers said, and she is slated to teach a group of 30 fifth-graders in her portable classroom.

Shannon Ledbetter is a first-year teacher who will be sharing the portable with Rogers.

Ledbetter said even though it’s her first year teaching, she’s not nervous because she previously worked at the school as a computer lab manager and already knows most of the children.

“I’m anxious, I’m just ready to go,” Ledbetter said.

Rogers said the first day is the same for teachers, whether it’s their first year or last.

“We have a lot of the same feelings,” she said. “If you’re not a little bit anxious, you shouldn’t be here.”

And Rogers said it has been her experience that all students want essentially the same things as they start the year, for their environment to be safe, engaging “and to be a learning experience.”

“They want what’s best too,” she said.