Even in a pandemic she ‘kept teaching her heart out’

By EMILY WEAVER
Managing editor
Posted 5/14/21

Something special happens in Regina Griggs’ fifth grade class – something mesmerizing, something that lasts – and parents of her students brag about the effect it has on their children.

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Even in a pandemic she ‘kept teaching her heart out’

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Something special happens in Regina Griggs’ fifth grade class – something mesmerizing, something that lasts – and parents of her students brag about the effect it has on their children.

“She let them know from the very beginning that she takes a lot of pride in teaching them, in fact, just this week she told them, ... ‘Listen, I want you to know that if I’m ever tough with you or hard on you or make things difficult, it’s because I’m getting you ready for middle school and once you’re in my classroom, you’re always my child,’” recited Amanda Cline, mother of 11-year-old twins Emery and Kennedy in Griggs’ class.

Griggs is a fifth grade teacher at Lafayette Elementary with more than 17 years of experience. Some of her children are grown. Some are married. Some have babies of their own, but they’re still her kids.

“Once you’re mine, you’re always mine,” she says.

Parents say Griggs gives special attention to each child, building them up when they’re down, cheering them on when they excel and challenging every one of them to be the best — even in the chaotic throes of a pandemic.

“She has done a phenomenal job this entire year despite the formidable challenges with the pandemic,” said Latorius Adams, whose daughter Mallory is in Griggs’ class.

Even on remote learning, Cline said she was impressed to get a recap of what they learned or did online each day and what to expect in the days to come.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for all educators this past year,” said Lafayette Elementary Principal Kimberly Smith. “Mrs. Griggs did not allow the grass to grow under her feet — she dug in and learned how to navigate providing remote instruction to her students. She spent hours adding to her lessons so students would remain engaged. She did not complain or waste time transitioning with her team. She learned new technology tools and kept teaching her heart out.”

Parents and students recently honored Griggs with cards and gifts to show their appreciation.

Adams’ note read as follows:

“Your courage, patience and commitment to understand, motivate and inspire the students in your 5th grade class to become good citizens and become excited about learning has not gone unnoticed. By equipping them with study tools and an efficient organizational framework for improved productivity, you have given them a gift that will keep on giving. I want you to know how grateful we are to have you as the teacher of our children. Your teaching style really engages the kids and gets them pumped up and excited about learning. It is wonderful to see them coming home in a very happy mood, with wonderful things to say about you, and eager to share what they’ve learned in class that day. I appreciate all of your hard work, and the positive learning environment you provide for your students.”

Smith didn’t sound too surprised by the praise for Griggs.

“She is a phenomenal teacher that brings life to her lessons,” Smith said. “She always seeks to cultivate a desire for her students to explore their content and cultivate a love for learning. She loves learning new things and this translates into a classroom culture of engagement with her students. She believes in her students and inspires them to dream big. She is passionate about teaching in a way that is very rare and infectious. When you walk in her classroom she is full of life and maximizing each instructional moment.” 

Smith says they’re blessed to have Griggs. Cline and Adams say the same.

Emily Weaver can be reached at eweaver@mydailyrecord.com or at 910-230-2028. 

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