National Teacher Appreciation Day surprise

Suzy Brooks 

On the morning of May 7, National Teacher Appreciation Day, there was a surprise brewing at the Mullen-Hall School in Falmouth. Suzy Brooks, a much respected third-grade teacher and an avid user of social media—where she shares her own classroom ideas, strategies and brainstorms with colleagues from all over the world--was about to receive several “inspiration boxes” from the NEA and the MTA.

At 10:30 a.m., Holcomb, Mullen-Hall Principal Donna Noonan, Falmouth Superintendent Marc Dupuis, Mullen-Hall special education teacher Nicole Bell and Falmouth teacher and MTA Board member Susan Baker made a surprise visit to Brooks’s classroom, where several third-graders were in the middle of a lesson involving iPads.

Brooks was not only surprised by the attention, she was grateful and stunned. She was one of five teachers around the country to be so recognized by the NEA. The NEA has a membership of 3 million, including 110,000 public school educators and higher education faculty and staff in Massachusetts.

“These special gift boxes are a thank you for your outstanding work, commitment to your students and passion for the teaching profession,” said Falmouth Educators Association President Ernie Holcomb, who teaches at Mullen-Hall. “This is also a token of our appreciation for the innovative and creative ways you’re using social media to curate content, organize classroom ideas, share with your peers and help your students succeed.”

Brooks has a following of more than 12,600 on Pinterest, where she has 45 boards focused on education issues. Her most popular board, on reading skills and strategies, offers some of her best practices involving the use of pictures to engage students.Brooks is among a growing number of educators using social media as a professional development tool.

“It’s an essential that teachers have personal learning networks, or PLNs,” Brooks said. “Without one it is very hard to keep up with all the changes and resources available on education.”

To learn more about Suzy Brooks, visit her on Pinterest, on Twitter, or her blog. You can also view her 2012 ED Talk on engagement at the MTA Summer Conference on YouTube.

More photos of the surprise teacher appreciation day event can be found on the MTA’s Flickr page. Also check out NEA's Pinterest Teacher Day on Storify.