A heartfelt tribute to the teachers of West Virginia

A heartfelt tribute to the teachers of West Virginia

Before my career in marketing with Wheelhouse Creative, I was a sports journalist.

Throughout that long career, it hurt to hear folks badmouthing the fine journalists with which I worked. They were trained professionals who cared deeply. They strived to get the facts correct. And they had honor. I once watched a news editor type his own DUI report in and literally place it on a page for the next day’s newspaper.

There are likewise fine folks that are lawyers, politicians and salesmen that have to put up with scorn.

Today, though, I’d like to shine my spotlight on West Virginia’s teachers, who also at times get a bad rap.

Because after interviewing teacher after teacher for West Virginia Education Association videos, I’m moved.

Actually, I’m in awe.

West Virginia’s teachers – which don’t get the deserved respect within our state’s craggy lines – aren’t simply babysitters with insurance plans.

They are incredibly concerned and caring folks that truly put our children before themselves.

I’ve been bowled over. Same with Wheelhouse video magicians Joe and Pat Monahan (yes, they are brothers), who have been with me through around 30 interviews of teachers for the WVEA. (Some of our work has been released and posted on the WVEA’s website:

There’s more content to come though. And it’s been our honor to provide that content because of the incredible education professionals we’ve met along the way.

We’ve been amazed at their hard work and long hours. We’ve been blown away by their dedication.

We’ve seen the love the teachers have for our state’s kids. We’ve heard how they lie awake at night concerned.

We’ve felt their pain as they’ve recounted encounters with issues like opioids, abuse, abandonment, etc.

We’ve heard the tales of teachers coming to the rescue.

And, yes, we’ve felt their frustration. They are frustrated because many in our state don’t see them in the same light as those outside West Virginia. In other states they are hailed as heroes for taking a stand in 2018. They are hailed for their work in our bad economic conditions.

Also, they feel frustration because they are not consulted in regard to funding.

“It’s not reading, writing and arithmetic anymore,” Yaunetta Dunn said in one of the posted videos.

In the above link you can also see Suha Beck speaking about teachers moving past scorn, issues and frustrations.

“If the teachers in West Virginia had a spirit animal,” she said, “it would be the phoenix.”

Indeed, because they continue to rise to the challenge time and time again.

I simply wish more people would be able to sit and listen to our teachers.

Sit. Listen. Watch. Empathize.

I think they’d come to the same conclusion as our Wheelhouse Creative group.

The word “teacher” just doesn’t seem big enough to describe or cover the dedication, the love and the professionalism of these fine folks.

God bless them all.

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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.







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