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First-time teacher faces educating in pandemic

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  • First-time teacher faces educating in pandemic
    Abby Long poses for a photo with her husband, Sam Long, who both live in Macon. CONTRIBUTED

Abby Long, a first time teacher, will be teaching at Dames Ferry Elementary School this year to help renew education and spark young minds.

Long said she lives in Macon because her husband Sam works in Macon. She said she likes the family atmosphere Jones County offers, and she said the town seems to embrace the one team, one heartbeat mentality.

“I am from a very small town, Thomasville, so I really like the small town feel since it’s what I’m used to,” she said. “I also student taught at Dames Ferry for a year and a half. I really enjoy the relationships I built there, and I feel like I’m at home at Dames Ferry.”

The teacher said, because this is her first year teaching, she’s very excited to get her own classroom. She said she is already familiar with the school and staff and feels more confident teaching at Dames Ferry.

“I think I cried happy tears when I found out I’d be teaching third grade at Dames Ferry. It was the number one school I wanted to be at, and I had put a lot of effort into being able to be at Dames Ferry. I honestly didn’t want to teach anywhere else,” Long said.

Long said she got her degree from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, so she’s prepared to educate young minds. She said she feels the college has a strong education program and provides lots of field experience.

“Becoming a teacher focuses on getting that experience first hand. It is a tough job, so I liked that I was able to be in the classroom so much,” the teacher said. “We also focused on child development, so it helped to support why we do what we do in the classroom.”

Long said her mother teaches third grade in another county, so she was excited to learn she would be a third grade teacher just like her mother. She said her mother is very proud of her, but she grew up wanting to do something totally different career wise.

“There are a lot of teachers in my family, so I didn’t want to be like them. For a long time I fought against it and wanted to be a lawyer, but my senior year of high school I was able to do a student teaching internship with elementary school children in my hometown. I fell in love with it,” she said.

Long said she feels her favorite thing about teaching will probably be building relationships with her students and getting to know them. She said she can’t wait to meet them and their families on Aug. 17.

She said, due to COVID-19, she feels this year will be different and not what she hoped for her first year of teaching, but she plans to do her best. She said she plans to keep her students safe while she gives them a proper education.

“By the end of the year, I want to look back and know that I tried my best,” Long said. “I’ve heard the first year of teaching is always the hardest. I know there will be hard times, but I want my students to know I care about them, and I did my best. It’s a challenge I plan to face head on.”