Golden Apple: Susan Mode

Golden Apple Winner Susan Mode

Aiken County, SC (WJBF) – Susan Mode has been teaching at Redcliffe Elementary for 30 years. If you want to see what kind of students she produces, look no further than right across the hall. Kayce Buchanan teaches first grade thanks to her first grade teacher Mrs. Mode, and her second grade teacher so many years ago.

“Their influence on me really made me want to become a teacher,” Buchanan says. “Mrs. Mode’s always been very helpful and caring and considerate, wanting to make sure I’m the best teacher I can be.”

How does Mrs. Mode do it? She starts by treating her students like her own children.

“These children are my babies,” she says. “They’ve been my babies. From the moment they come into my room, they’re my babies. And this is why I do it.”

She sees so much improvement each year, especially when it comes to her children learning how to read.

“They’ll come to you and say I can’t do this, yes you can, go sit down and try it. And they can. And then they run with it–is just one of the biggest moments you can have as a first grade teacher.”

And after 30 years, she runs into a lot of her former students in the community.

“When they talk and when they tell me what they’ve done and what they’re going to do and what their dreams are, it just makes you feel really good as a teacher, because you know that you did make an impact on those children.”

She helps so many others, but what does she get out of this? Mrs. Mode says her rewards for a lifetime of teaching, are simple.

“When they come in–their hugs,” she says. “They’ll say I’m going to bring you the biggest gift. No, I want your hugs. Their hugs, their smiles–this is what gets me through day in and day out.”

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