BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Chances are you can remember most of your teachers' names, but can you remember your kindergarten teacher?
One teacher in Boyle County has made a name for herself as one of the best, quite literally.
Gayle Best has retired after 49 years at Perryville Elementary.
"I don't think I considered it a job," she said. "It's a passion."
Best has always wanted to write a book about what children have said or done.
While it isn't quite the book she's talking about, she has a binder full of memories she isn't getting rid of any time soon.
It commemorates some of her fondest memories at the school.
"I attended eight years of elementary school here," she said. "My parents went to school here, lots of relatives. So it's a special place."
It has been a place of routine and tradition. It's comfortable for her. She put it 'best' -- it's her passion.
"When I first started, children crying, I want my momma, I want my momma," she said. "Pulling them out of the car, they didn't teach me that! So I had to come up with all of that and kind of got a method of doing that."
It takes a certain someone with patience to be a kindergarten teacher.
"The only reason I'm stopping now is I need two knee replacements," she said. "But otherwise I'd still be here."
She says seeing a child learn to hold a pencil is one of the things she enjoys most about the passion. She says the last couple of years have certainly been difficult because of the pandemic and virtual learning.
AUSTIN: "What have you enjoyed most about this passion?
GAYLE: "Probably seeing children learn to hold a pencil. We have children come in who have never held a pencil."
That's the rewarding feeling that can make the not-so-easy moments feel worth it.
"I thought I'd never see the day I had to teach kindergarten on Zoom," she said. "But we did and we got through it."
Even during challenging years, she kept that binder of memories close to her. She may not have written the book about what children have said or done, but they wrote one for her -- with the notes and cards they've left for her over the years.
"All those little cards and notes, I have them," she said. "And I've kept them."