After more than 20 years of teaching, Cindy Wertz has learned the value of little moments with big meaning.
It might happen when one of her Pre-K students learns a new letter, or shares a toy with a classmate who is crying. A frustrated child might choose to take deep breaths instead of yelling or hitting. That’s when Cindy knows her efforts are working.
“There are little moments every day when you can say, ‘This is what I’ve been working toward,’” she says. “It makes me very happy."
Cindy started as lead Pre-K teacher at Primrose School of Buford 19 years ago. She studied elementary education at the University of Wisconsin and worked in Wisconsin and Illinois public schools. She taught second grade, computer programming for a gifted program and middle school children with behavioral disabilities.
When her husband’s job was transferred to New Jersey, she got into the mortgage industry, becoming vice president of loan servicing for a community bank. When the family moved to Georgia, she was a stay-at-home mom for a few years and sent her daughters to Primrose School of Buford.
When one of her younger daughter’s Pre-K teachers took a leave, Cindy filled in, becoming the lead teacher the following year. That was in 2003, and she’s been collecting little moments ever since.
As both a mom and a teacher, Cindy was drawn to the Primrose commitment to teach with a Balanced Learning® approach: academic, social and emotional skills. Her mantra to her students is “practice makes you better.” That goes for everything from math problems to throwing a ball to making a new friend.
“I want to build their confidence. I want them to go into a new situation and feel they’re going to succeed,” she says. “Some kids come into my class knowing all their letters. Some know one or two. As long as there’s growth, I’m happy.”
One of Cindy’s favorite things about teaching at Primrose is the involvement and enthusiasm of the parents. In her experience at public schools, she found varying levels of parental involvement and support. At Primrose, there’s a high level of care and interest across the board from parents, she says. That makes communication easier, and if she identifies a potential issue, such as a developmental delay, parents tend to respond positively and work with her to help the child.
When Cindy sees parents or children outside of school, they approach her with warmth and excitement. Catching up with former students and their families is especially fun.
A 6-foot-tall high school boy she hadn’t seen since he was 5 approached her in a restaurant: “Ms. Cindy? It’s Bryce.” Parents of a little girl she had in class a few years before stopped her in the grocery store and they ended up chatting for 45 minutes.
“My husband says, ‘I never know how long you’re going to be gone,’” she says. “I say, ‘It depends on how many people I see when I’m there.’”
After all, little moments that remind a teacher of a job well done aren’t restricted to the classroom.
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