HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Socastee High School teacher Suzanne Troiani was nominated by a co-worker as a Classroom Champion.
Part of the nomination stated, “I have never seen someone care more about her job than she does. Her students are her life. She provides a space for them to call home well over the 180 days.”
Those are the words used to describe Troiani, who teaches English Honors for high school seniors. She’s in her ninth year at Socastee High and said teaching has changed her life for the better.
“Some of my kids don’t have adults, they don’t have parents or someone at home they can trust," Troiani said. "So if I can make sure they know there is one caring adult in their corner, that’s pretty incredible.”
She always knew she would end up in the classroom. Troiani said her mother was a teacher and was always surrounded by education. She knew she wanted a job where she was making a difference.
“This job is challenging, especially this year. I feel like I am a first-year teacher all over again," she said. "It’s hard, what we are asked to do is really hard. The expectations on us are really hard and we don’t get a lot of support.”
With limited collaboration and face-to-face instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Troiani said it’s been hard to build relationships this year.
“I think we are doing the best we can. The students have been incredible. The changes - and I hate that it’s their seniors year - I am heartbroken this is what school is like for them, but man they are just taking it in stride," she said. 'They come to class socially distant and they wear their masks and are really trying their hardest.”
Teaching high school seniors, Troiani explained the importance of prepping them for what’s to come.
“You know a lot of my kids are going to go on to college and I don’t know what college will look like next year even at Coastal or USC, and I feel like I need to prepare them for what their professors will expect and teach them how to be self-sufficient and work on their own and find answers to their problems,” she said.
When it comes to the pandemic Troiani discussed some of her fears.
“It’s something I’ve thought about, I am worried about my own health. I have a 10-year-old-son; I worry about his health. I worry about my elderly parents but ultimately I need to be in the classroom," she said. "No matter how hard or challenging getting to be in a room with students or in a Google Meet with students, that interaction, they need it just as much as I need it. Ultimately I’m here the same way doctors and nurses go in and risk their health. I’m not as awesome as a doctor or nurse, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”