Sarah Hancock – Garland Elementary

Dec 6, 2016, 6:53 PM | Updated: Jan 15, 2021, 6:11 am
...

Sarah Hancock was a first year teacher last year (2014-2015) when my daughter, Becca, was in her 5th grade class at Garland Elementary. It was also Becca’s first year at Garland Elementary school in Garland, UT. As the start of another school year approached, Becca expressed her concerns to me about having a new teacher and telling the teacher about her “situation”. You see, Becca was born with ptosis and third nerve palsy of her right eye. She had surgery to save the sight in her right eye at 6 weeks old. Because her right eye lacks the necessary muscles to open and close the eye, she had to have the eye surgically sewn open. Another result of the lack of muscles is that the eye and surrounding tissue aren’t shaped the same as her left eye. The right eye is receded and appears smaller than the left. Due to palsy of the third nerve, 4 of 6 muscles that move the eye are paralyzed and nonfunctional, so she has little control of movement of that eye.

Before school started we went in to visit with Mrs. Hancock to explain how Becca uses each eye independently to allow optimum use of both eyes. (They function independent of one another, kind of like a chameleon.) 🙂 We call her right eye her “special eye”. Becca expressed her nervousness to Mrs. Hancock about how other kids in the class would respond to her as well. Mrs. Hancock was compassionate and caring. She asked Becca if she felt anything should be addressed in advance to her classmates, and if so, how she would like to handle it. Mrs. Hancock also shared a book with us titled WONDER. She sent a copy of the book home with us and suggested that I read it with Becca. She suggested that it would be an excellent story for the class to read together. The book is a work of fiction about a boy born with some physical disabilities and how his 5th grade class at a new school responded to his differences, and discovered their many similarities as they looked beyond out ward appearances to see the beauties that lie within. It proved to be the perfect remedy to Becca’s concerns.

Mrs. Hancock brought enthusiasm and love of learning to her students. As a recent college graduate herself, her love of learning was contagious. As a brand new teacher she was full of new ideas to teach age-old subjects. As a literacy volunteer in her classroom I was able to see her interaction with her students. She created an optimal learning environment with her organizational skills and her down-to-earth nature. Becca is the youngest of my 5 children and I have volunteered in all of my children’s classrooms over the years. I’ve never been in a classroom that was better organized and more inviting and conducive to learning.

Sarah Hancock spent the year teaching her students and also having fun with them. In the few minutes spent preparing to go to lunch or to go home she would play the guitar and teach them fun songs with different parts that could be sung together. I’m a huge believer in the power of music in brain development and also in its effect on the brain’s memory capabilities. Those songs were not only helpful in instructing her students, the music also unified them and allowed them to have fun learning together. She had a way of making her classroom feel like home away from home for her students; a fun-filled, safe learning environment.

At the end of the year she created a new tradition as a teacher by sharing one of her own childhood traditions with her class. As a child, on the last day of school her family would watch cartoons from “the good old days” that her dad would project on to a sheet on the side of the house or the garage door. She had a party on the evening of the last day of school and invited not only her students but their entire families to watch those old-time cartoons. Her parents came with her and her dad projected those cartoons she grew up watching annually, for her students and their families to enjoy. She even provided the popcorn. 🙂

As a parent of one of her students, I could sing the praises of Sarah Hancock all day long. She had a wildly successful first season (year). She absolutely gets my nomination for not only “rookie of the year” but “teacher of the year” as well.

–Jennifer Richardson

Today’s Top Stories

crowded zion national park...
Mark Jones

Seasonal shuttle service, camping availability announced at Zion

Fall shuttle service into Zion National Park ended Sunday. It will resume for 10 days beginning on Dec. 23 and running through Jan. 1, 2023.
1 day ago
Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

Church announces locations for six previously announced temples

Locations for six previously announced temples were announced Monday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago
vail resorts...
Elizabeth Weiler

Vail Resorts facing million dollar lawsuit after a Utah bowling alley incident

PARK CITY, Utah — After a bowling incident during a company party, a jury is ordering Vail Resorts’ Mountain activities to pay over $2 million for a personal injury that caused extensive surgeries.  In April, according to a case overview, Jupiter Bowl hosted a team party for Vail employees. During the party, Vail Resorts’ employees […]
1 day ago
Utah Naloxone...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Naloxone and law enforcement reach milestone in preventing overdose deaths

Utah Naloxone reports over 600 lives in Utah have been saved thanks to law enforcement's use of naloxone (Narcan®).
1 day ago
Photo of a Utah highway petrol vehicle...
Mark Jones

More than 1,500 motorists stopped for speeding over Thanksgiving weekend

The Utah Highway Patrol says more than 1,500 motorists were pulled over for speeding during the Thanksgiving weekend.
1 day ago
Primary Children's Medical Center has canceled some scheduled surgeries and other procedures this w...
Simone Seikaly

Citing rising RSV cases, Primary Children’s delaying some surgeries

Primary Children's is delaying pre-scheduled and non-emergency procedures that would require an inpatient stay.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Sarah Hancock – Garland Elementary