If I Could Thank a Teacher…
While many kids have already started school, our first day isn’t until after Labor Day. A new school year makes me wonder about what is to come. Will my kids make new friends? Will they like their teacher? Will they discover something the love?
It also has me thinking about teachers. What an amazing job they have and, most of the time, they do incredible work. I’ve homeschooled one of my kids before and it was hard. I can only imagine the preparation and time required for teaching an entire classroom of children.
Teachers hold a unique position in the lives of our children. They are authority figures who have a powerful influence in the daily lives of their students. I have seen the results of wonderful teachers on my own children. They have more confidence, want to try new things, and are excited for the school day.
I’ve also seen the results of a teacher that was less invested in her students. I once showed up for a parent teacher conference and even when I told the teacher who my daughter was, I’m not sure she really knew. I don’t blame her. I know it was a tough class and I’m sure that her focus was on a handful of difficult children. Still, it wasn’t my daughter’s best year in school.
Teachers open new worlds. They expose kids to new ideas, concepts, and build their confidence in ways that parents can’t.
I can’t help but reminisce about the teachers I had growing up. I didn’t care for all of them, of course, but they shaped the way I think and how I look at the world. Some had more influence than others. A few stand out because of their sense of humor, high standards, and ideas.
If I could thank a teacher…
I’d thank my 5th grade teacher. When there was a dispute over an ‘I Owe You’ note, she held a mock trial in the classroom. It was complete with a judge, jury, and lawyers for both sides all chosen from the students in our classroom. I learned that a good lawyer can make a big difference. I understood how a trial worked. I also understood that even though she let us have a trial, she was still the ruler.
I’d thank all of my middle school teachers. They deserve a medal. I was a well-behaved kid but I was still a typical middle schooler. They showed amazing patience, encouragement, and fortitude in the face of adolescent hormones.
I’d thank my band/musical theater teacher. The man had the patience of Job. He never seemed to lose his cool when we were in middle school. I don’t know how he managed that because middle schoolers….in a group…boys and girls…with instruments…yikes. I heard Phantom of the Opera for the first time in his class. The goose bumps on my arms told me I had to hear more. Later he introduced Sweeney Todd, Les Miserable, and My Fair Lady.
When we were painting sets for She Loves Me and someone spilled a can of yellow paint on the stage, I’ve never forgotten the look on his face when we showed him what happened. He sat down, stared into space, and sang “Tomorrow” from Annie while we used dust pans to clean it up. The yellow paint seeped into the cracks of the stage and glowed yellow when the lights were off. Job, I tell you.
I’d thank my government teacher. She also happened to be my first volleyball coach. She was quick-witted and ready to laugh. I went on a trip with her and five other students to Washington, D.C., my sophomore year of high school. What an incredible experience. She was patient with us when we showed our complete ignorance, like when I was confused by the fact that the White House and the Capitol Building were not the same building or when someone else in our group kept looking for the Statue of Liberty (which is not in Washington, D.C., if you’re wondering). At least she knew where to focus future lessons.
I’d thank my AP English/speech/drama teacher. With his deep bass voice, he terrified me but he was a good teacher. Everyone was equal in his class. At least, everyone’s work was thrashed in front of the class with equal vigor. I learned to be a better writer, reader, speaker, and how to hold back tears when I didn’t understand grammar.
I’d thank my seminary teacher. My love for the gospel of Jesus Christ grew in his class. Somehow he made the scriptures come alive and seem interesting, which as it turns out, they are.
Thank you teachers for all you do. Thank you for showing up early, staying late, spending time outside of school hours preparing, and worrying about your students. You really are superstars.
What would you say as a thank you to your teachers?