Buhler schools started their training with food and a speech by the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year, who happens to also be the 2020 National Teacher of the Year. Tabatha Rosproy teaches Winfield Unified School District 465’s pre-K program at a nursing home in Winfield.
"It’s been since 1962 that Kansas has had a national teacher of the year," said Buhler Superintendent Cindy Couchman to Buhler USD 313 school personnel – from teachers to maintenance workers. "We are so excited."
Rosproy told the crowd who gathered on Thursday at CrossPoint Church in Hutchinson that during COVID-19 she sometimes felt lost.
"I’m an optimist to a fault," Rosproy said. "But COVID has been really hard on me."
Speaking through a red mask, Rosproy led Buhler staff through a number of activities, explaining how they can alter the games and use each one in the classroom.
One of the activities asked if each person would rather be told to wear one color each day or would they prefer to wear seven colors at a time. They were also given a choice of eating a can of cat food or two rotten tomatoes.
Rosproy said she was glad to be in Hutchinson at an in-person meeting. Hearkening back to last spring, she commended Kansas teachers and administrators on their collaboration of what she called the "gold standard." But, she admitted, during the pandemic there were inequities.
"You can only hold so many plates before they come down and crash," she told the crowd. "You can’t do everything."
Rosproy told the group they must try to teach empathy. She called it a great connection point.
"Empathy is at risk in our environment," Rosproy said. "Use activities. Activities help forge relationships. They help us build common ground."
Rosproy received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Southwestern College in Kansas. She is working on her master’s degree in education and English as a secondary language from Fort Hays State University.
Buhler students go back to school next week.