“Being around kids is the best part of my job. I have taught students from all over the world with different languages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. These students have taught me lessons and opened my eyes to a bigger world,” Cobb Schools Teacher of the Year Beth Foster revealed during a recent ceremony to honor her on Marietta Square.
The Osborne High School teacher, who is also a graduate of Pope High School, cemented her place in the history of Cobb County when she unveiled her handprints along the sidewalk with past Teachers of the Year.
“I’m so proud of Beth and her hard work through the years that have led to her being named the Cobb County School District Teacher of the Year,” said Osborne Principal Josh Morreale. “Her hard work and effort didn’t just come yesterday for this award. I’ve watched it in 11 years of working with Beth. Her dedication is always to her students, to her classroom, to her instruction, and to her fellow teachers. She builds relationships with kids and families and with staff at the highest levels.”
The annual handprint unveiling ceremony was a time for the community to recognize the impact Ms. Foster has had on her students across her 13 years in the classroom.
However, Ms. Foster had different plans. She took the opportunity to praise her colleagues and even her students, who she credits for inspiring her to pursue a master’s degree.
“I want to thank my students for inspiring me and pushing me and for the impact that they have had on my life,” Cobb’s Teacher of the Year (TOTY) said.
Many of her students are the first to graduate in their family, turning graduation ceremonies into inspiring celebrations and her favorite time of the year.
“I’m proud of my students when they challenge themselves even when times get difficult,” Ms. Foster added. “[The students] are facing barriers I never had to face. They inspire me. I need them, and they need me.
Cobb’s Teacher of the Year described her Osborne colleagues as outstanding and said everything they do is a “team effort.”
Her principal echoed his top teacher’s praise for Osborne and the school’s team of educators.
“We are very proud at Osborne of the work we do with our kids. We have a very stable staff. Beth has been with us for 13 years. One teacher Annette Hansard has been at Osborne for 54 years. I have an administrator who has been at Osborne for 35 years. We have a lot of people who love what we do for kids at Osborne High School, and we truly see ourselves as a very close-knit family of educators,” Principal Morreale explained.
In addition to her students and colleagues, Cobb’s Teacher of the Year also praised the school facility they call home.
“The technology I have in my brand-new building at Osborne High School helps students. It helps their learning. It makes my job easier. The vast resources of this county available to myself, other teachers, and students is where our student success comes from,” explained Ms. Foster.
Although the job has challenges like any profession, Ms. Foster encourages the next generation to consider becoming teachers.
“This job is extremely rewarding because there is that human impact,” the TOTY insisted. “Unlike many occupations, I get to be part of students’ lives. I get to see their joy, to see them laugh, to see them experience those lightbulb moments.”
According to the TOTY, an ideal teacher cares about others, is willing to go above and beyond, and is also flexible.
“There are new challenges every day. The day honestly flies by because I’m with youth, I’m with kids, I’m with children. It is fun. There is laughter,” shared the TOTY.
Ms. Foster described the power of teachers to create a classroom environment that is challenging, loving, welcoming, and a safe place to learn. She stressed that school should be a place where students look forward to going to class, know that the teacher cares about them, and where learning will be fun.
Beyond being recognized by the community as the Teacher of the Year, what’s her reward for creating the learning environment where students succeed?
“When a student sends you a note and says, ‘thank you,’ that is the reward for all the hard work. You are not going to find a more rewarding job,” Ms. Foster declared.