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Teacher Appreciation Week; Meet Judy Gleason

(WBNG 12 News)
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) -- All week long, WBNG is celebrating and honoring educators across the Southern Tier who are making an impact on our next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators.

Judy Gleason has been an educator at Johnson City High School for 20 years teaching government. For the past two, however, she said her job has become more than challenging.

“Trying to keep those relationships going is the biggest thing, and being flexible; really flexible. I mean understanding what they’re [students] going through, and being flexible... I think it’s all about it’s really all about being willing to change and adjust when we’ve needed to,” said Gleason.

She said one of the hardest parts about teaching through a pandemic is trying to maintain a connection with her students virtually.

“Many students didn’t feel comfortable having their video camera on, so talking to a screen not knowing who’s on the other side of the screen. In a lot of cases, not being able to interact with them face-to-face,” Gleason said. “For me as a teacher, I really rely on those relationships and being able to get a sense of what kind of mood kids are in and what they’re going through, it’s really almost impossible to do that through a screen.”

Despite navigating through COVID-19, Gleason said there are two things that still inspire her to come to work every day.

“One, is my colleagues: I work with a great bunch of people who are really fun to come to school and to work with them. The other is: that it’s different every day, interacting with students teaching the content that I do, I love trying to bring relevance to kids’ lives,” she said. “You just never quite know what to expect with them so they keep me on my toes.”

For those looking to pursue a career or degree in education, Gleason leaves this advice:

“Make sure that it’s something that you’re really passionate about I don’t think you can do this type of work unless you really love being around kids and are passionate about it,” she said. “I don’t think it’s something that you go into because you don’t know what to do you’re going to get burned out really quick.”

WBNG selected five teachers to be featured for Teacher Appreciation Week. From May 9 to 13, one teacher will be showcased on 12 News at 5:30 p.m. To see all of the featured teachers, go here. For a full list of nominated teachers, go here.