MARQUETTE COUNTY — This week is Teacher’s Appreciation Week. We highlight a couple of area teachers that go above and beyond.

Growing up, school was the home away from home. The teachers that help us mold our brains into what we think with today were our second parents. Teachers spend hours in classrooms just to spend more hours helping mold the minds of the future.

“That’s why we’re in the profession,” said Eric Hill, a social studies teacher at Westwood High School. “We care about kids, and we want to help them grow, mature and become better people in the long run.”

Hill spends his time teaching world history between the bells, and after that, he coaches cross country and track.

“Eric has been a standout since he was hired about ten years ago, whether it be in the classroom, out of the classroom, in the coaching ranks,” said Westwood Principal David Boase.

Over in Negaunee, Vickie Paupore, now in her 25 th year, does the same. Spanish in the day, coaching in the evening.

“She’s involved with our students, not only in the classroom, but outside of the classroom,” said Negaunee High School Principal Mark Marana.

The traditional learning environment, with desks in rows and a boring lecture, is becoming more archaic every year. Paupore and Hill are each employing their own unique tactics to make the student’s learning experience more enjoyable.

“I try and do a lot of differentiated activities using technology, doing a lot of group activities, individual activities, lots of variety in the classroom,” said Paupore. “We also have taken students overseas to Spain and Costa Rica, so that’s pretty cool.”

Teachers are supposed to be flexible, willing to be able to adapt their lesson plan to best suit their students.

“Every kid is different,” said Hill. “And that’s what you learn is that there’s no one way to reach everybody, so you’ve got to try to adapt to each student’s needs; one thing that worked with one kid is the exact opposite of what another kid needs.”

“Students learn differently, and as teachers it’s super important for us to remember that and to kind of modify the activities that we do in our classrooms to fit the needs of our students,” added Paupore.

That quality is highly regarded in teachers nowadays.

“They have to know their students,” said Marana. “They have to know what type of assistance they need to become successful and eventually graduate from high school.”

Teachers also need to be involved with their community, caring for more than just their students.

“We had a teacher that is going through some health issues, and as part of a donation, we had raffle to see who was going to color coach Hill’s hair pink in support of one of our local teachers. It’s those kinds of things that have made Eric be a standout in our district,” said Marana.

“I get a lot of weird looks because of it, but I’m cool with that,” said Hill.

Teachers are people that take time out of our day to try and make the future generations more fit to conquer the world. And they deserve all of the respect in the world.