Someone once said, “A woman is like a tea bag you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Well I assure you, my esteemed colleagues, that the woman we are honoring here today, Mrs. Diane Martin, is stronger than any Earl Grey in existence. I realized this from the very first moments I stepped foot into my classroom here at East Meadows nearly five years ago. There wasn’t a day in the week back then that we weren’t in hot water in some form or another.
I quite literally may not have been here happily espousing Diane’s amazing qualities if it hadn’t been for her knowledge, quick thinking, and amazing attitude in addressing the behaviors belonging to the most difficult 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students in Nebo district. I knew she had been working with these kiddos for several years before I was lucky enough to be called her friend, yet I had no idea of the full extent of her incredible teaching ability.
Diane has the biggest heart of any person I know. And I’m lucky to be married to someone with a pretty big heart. However, I can proudly say that Diane’s ability to overlook a child’s swearing, spitting, kicking, hitting, hurtful, or even foulsmelling
behavior and see that child for who they really are is a rare gift few people possess.
Diane will offer the very sweatshirt she is wearing to help a child to warm up. She will purchase, with her own money socks, underwear, snacks, school supplies, or other treats to help a student feel safe, welcome, and cared for.
She sees the little details in my students’ lives that I
so regularly miss and knows just how to clue me in without being overbearing.
And lest you think for a second that she is a pushover, and that she makes disciplining students difficult when they need to be held accountable let
me assure you that she is tough as nails when it comes to laying down the law. Regardless of how big, mean, angry, or deranged a student might be when
I need someone to cover my back and assist in keeping a student safe
from harm or injuring someone else, Diane is ready at a moment’s notice to step in and assist in a physical restraint even knowing that she will be wearing the bruises for days to come.
And yet, gratefully, it is due to her kindness, compassion, levelheadedness
and humor that we now so rarely ever need to physically support students in staying safe. They know, simply by being in the same room with her, that they are loved. And this attitude toward being a steward over a child’s education goes further than any rules or procedures I can implement to keep kids safe.
I also need to point out, that Diane’s husband Brett has a great deal to do with her success, as he is so often willing to fulfill her requests on short notice. I am grateful that he is a wonderful support in my classroom through her.
I am honored to know Diane. I know that so many of you feel the same way. And it is with great pleasure that we recognize her today.