Since three o’clock this afternoon, eight amazing teachers have walked through my office door. Right now, a committee down the hall is tackling a job I am thankful I don’t have to do. By the end of the evening, I’ll know the next All-American Public Schools Teacher of the Year’s identity, one of only a few privileged with that knowledge until the big announcement at next month’s employee recognition banquet.
That’s a secret I’ll keep. But it’s hard to hide the talents, the enthusiasm, and the love for students these dedicated people bring with them as they enter. From teaching Chinese immersion classes, to bringing learning to life via new technology, to coaching Special Olympics or making math meaningful for students who may not have previously experienced success in that subject–this group captures the best of the teaching profession.
The papers don’t seem to print a lot of good news about American education these days. I won’t deny some of the challenges we face. But, tonight, I want to focus on the good, on the teachers that inspired us, on the teachers who inspire our children.
I own more than one item emblazoned with the rather clichéd statement, “To teach is to touch a life forever.” Funny how those clichés tend to be true, isn’t it? So, I’d like to dedicate this post to my own teachers who made a difference:
- To the senior English teacher who wasn’t embarrassed to teach us iambic pentameter by standing on her desk and tapping out the appropriate beat on her trashcan
- To the junior World History teacher who tackled a new thing (to my deep East Texas school district) called Advanced Placement and encouraged us to jump in to greater challenges in learning
- To the sophomore American History teacher who met us at our favorite TexMex place for $2.99 enchillada specials and got to know us a people, not just students
- To my 5th grade teacher who decided we could tackle both algebraic thinking and diagramming sentences, even if neither could be found in her standard curriculum.
- And to my 3rd grade teacher, who might not have taught me how to hold a pencil correctly, but who taught me an awful lot about determination while making sure I also knew my multiplication tables and how to research current events like the Panama Canal treaty.
When I think back through that list, it’s no wonder I wanted to be exactly like these women, a person of promise who inspired others to fulfill the promise within themselves. What teachers made a difference in your life?