Teacher Appreciation - Why I Teach: Vicky Sandell

VVN/Raquel Hendrickson<br>
Vicky Sandell has been teaching for 36 years and currently teaches first grade at Beaver Creek School.

VVN/Raquel Hendrickson<br> Vicky Sandell has been teaching for 36 years and currently teaches first grade at Beaver Creek School.

RIMROCK - When Vicky Sandell graduated from eighth grade, she and many of her classmates received objects symbolizing what their likely career paths would be. Vicky received a ruler.

"Teaching is what I'm meant to do," she says.

Sandell has been teaching grade school for 36 years. The past 33 years have been in the Beaver Creek School, where she is currently a first-grade teacher. Over the years, she has taught every elementary grade level except kindergarten and second grade.

"I love to see the kids learn new things and instill the desire to learn," she says.

Originally from Maine, her first teaching job was in Jacksonville, Fla., where her husband was stationed briefly for his work with the National Park Service. When he eventually landed at Montezuma Castle, Vicky landed a position at BCS. Thirty-three years later she finds herself teaching the children of students she once taught.

Classroom success is measured by "children happy, learning and wanting to go to school," she says, "when they're excited about what they've learned."

She will watch students who have been basically uninterested suddenly get energized adding and subtracting.

"I love to see them feeling proud of themselves," Sandell says. "It is the greatest joy."

She has not even tried to estimate how many students she has taught in 36 years. And it's rare for teachers to hear from former students who have grown up and moved away. "I guess you don't always know that you made a difference," she says.

That changed for Vicky in 2011 when she went into retirement - briefly. Word got around.

"I received a message from one of my former students who was in Iraq who told me 'You made such a difference in my life,'" she recalls.

Just months afterward, the first-grade position became available at BCS, and Sandell needed little time to decide to come back to school.

"I feel like I'm not quite done yet," she says.

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