A fellow teacher and friend issued a challenge for this week of Teacher Appreciation to recognize and acknowledge in some way teachers who made a difference in your life. I decided I would take that challenge.
The dictionary defines appreciation as: gratitude; thankful recognition.
So, to all of you who have been a powerful force for good in my life, here is a small token of that gratitude.
Mrs. B. was my Kindergarten teacher. Legally blind, she taught me that one can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to gain a dream. She also took the time to reach each child on an individual level. For me it was introducing me to "Clifford the Big Red Dog" when she found out that I was frightened of dogs as a child. It was one of many things that help her stand out in my mind.
Mrs. W. helped instill a love for music and art when I was in 4th grade. In one of those odd twists of time and fate, I now have the opportunity of teaching with her. She has been and continues to be an influence for good in my life and a great example of persevering through trials and difficulties.
Mrs. S. introduced me to the beauty of American Sign Language during my 5th grade year. She also challenged and pushed each of us to try our hardest and do our best.
During my junior high years there were a couple of teachers who stand out in my memory. Mr. E. was passionate about history and made each class an adventure in learning. A second Mrs. W. encouraged my humble efforts at writing and challenged me to do more.
In high school there were also a few extraordinary teachers. A third Mrs. W. introduced me to the classics of literature. She also made it a point not to accept excuses for shoddy work. My writing and studying became better because of her. Mr. P. brought passion and conviction to his teaching of history. The mysteries of the past came alive under his skillful teaching. Mr. D. cultivated discussions and encouraged diverse thoughts. Mr. N. taught French, but more than that - he taught compassion and kindness. A second Mr. P. brought a love of the earth and it's fascinating formation to the surface. Field trips into the geologic wonder that is is our own "backyard" still linger in my memories now.
These are just a few of the wonderful teachers had the privilege of knowing during my years as a student.
Now I am a teacher. I am the one charged with educating young minds. It's a daunting job. The people I work with daily are an inspiration. They truly are dedicated and give their all. Thank you - Mrs. Q, Mrs. H., Mrs. W., Mrs. N., Mrs. S., Mr. P., Mr. H., Mr. J., and Ms. T. You all make me want to be a better teacher and principal. Your efforts on behalf of our students do not go unnoticed. Thanks for all the untold hours of preparation, worry, care, and sacrifice - both personal and financial you give.
I also have over the past several years had the privilege of meeting many other teachers whom I admire and learn from constantly through workshops, classes, and presentations. To them I say thank you.
A new addition to that illustrious crew is Mr. Z. who recently (and deservedly so) received the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year award at his school. Over the past several months I have gotten to know this 5th grade teacher and am amazed at all the things he does for his students. My own teaching has been rejuvenated as I have visited with and learned from him.
And to the students who I have had the privilege of teaching over the past fifteen years - thank you. You, too, have been influential teachers. From you I have learned patience, perseverance, and from some of you courage, and compassion. I hope that in return you have learned from me. If you leave with an education not only of the mind, but of the heart - of kindness and respect for yourselves and others, I will consider myself as having some success.
Now - will YOU take the challenge?