The KIDS CuddleKit Closet and the Yuma Sun extend their congratulations to the second of five winners for the Teacher Appreciation Week Kindness Contest: Karen Bickel, a second grade teacher at Mesquite Elementary School.
According to the nomination from Linda Schilke, Bickel takes a unique approach to teaching.
“Mrs. Bickel's method of teaching empathy and kindness also promote reading and writing skills, knowledge of current events and uniquely bring joy to others. It is simple. Her students write real letters to real people about real things; not texts or emails, but real ‘snail mail.' Mrs. Bickel often shares newspaper articles with her class. Upon reading of a local woman who won a medal in the Olympics, the second graders wrote letters of congratulations. They were rewarded with a surprise visit from this Olympian. The visit was followed by thank you letters, of course.
“Letters are written to ill classmates, teachers nominated for awards, school staff on birthdays, classmates' families with new babies, Mrs. Bickel's mother in Wisconsin, me while in the hospital, classroom visitors and volunteers, last year's teachers, families of house fires, a Phoenix family highlighted in their reading books, authors, parents who have received awards, students who have moved, student family members hospitalized and so many more. Mrs. Bickel often hears that these letters bring tears to the recipients who frequently write in return.
“Probably the most special are the letters written to fellow classmates/ best friends, talking about why they are friends and special. This is what we call a win, win, win situation,” Schilke said.
In addition to being recognized, Bickel will receive a $50 gift card to the Yuma business of her choice. Other winners will be announced throughout Teacher Appreciation Week.