This week, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some really wonderful teachers throughout my life. I know that you have as well. So, this week, I’m saying thank you. It’s the least I can do. These people have taught me so much!
As I’m thinking about people who pay it forward, teachers always come to mind. Some of the best advice I have ever received came from a teacher. In your job search, seek out the teachers and learn from them. Teachers give so much, asking only for their students to be the best they can be. The doctors, lawyers, astronauts, politicians (yes, even the President had great teachers), educators…basically everyone has a teacher to thank for where they are in life. Here are a few teachers that made me into the person I am today:
Ms. Bridgers – My Kindergarten teacher. As a youngster, I was quite the handful. In between keeping me from jumping off the tables with my friends, chasing the girls and sending me to the Principal’s office (which was often), she encouraged creative problem-solving. My favorite part of class was the “listening skills” portion. She’d read from a lesson and we would have to apply our listening ears to solve the problem. I have used this every day in my life. Thank you, Ms. Bridgers.
Mom - Mom recently retired after serving over 20 years as a Family & Consumer Sciences (previously known as Home Economics) teacher. She taught subjects that range from Parenting to Psychology. She has taught me a lot of things from how to cook and bake (there IS a difference) to how to change a baby’s diaper, even how to sew. All of these lessons that have proven to be very useful throughout my life. She and my dad taught me that “if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.” That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way, but hey – that happens. Thanks, Mom.
Dad - Dad never taught a formal class, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned anything from him. I can attribute my knowledge of the outdoors to him. He inspired me to join the Boy Scouts. I never became an Eagle Scout, but that doesn’t mean I failed. In fact, Dad taught me that failure is just part of life. He taught me to pick myself up, dust off, and move on. He has also taught me that life is easier when you have a sense of humor. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. That includes laughing at yourself. Thanks, Dad.
Ms. Welker – My junior high English teacher who opened my eyes to the world of classic literature, writing, speech and debate. Perhaps even the inspiration for starting (and continuing) my blog, Ms. Welker continues to encourage me to use my talents to help others. We still keep up on Facebook. Whether that’s by inciting laughter, inspiration, motivation or just a little silliness by my arsenal of voices (from Kermit the Frog to Hank Hill), she taught me to be true to myself. This is written just as it was in my first post on teachers. Ms. Welker – you still inspire me!
My wife – She is finishing her first year as a 3rd grade teacher and has a true passion for this field. Every day she comes home with new excitement from her classroom that inspires me. In fact, she’s the very source of inspiration for many of my blog posts. The education system needs people like her: people who truly care about their students, who are there for the right reasons, not just the paycheck and summer vacation. She has great potential and I’m excited to walk hand in hand with her as we embark on the journey together. A little horn-toot for her: She was recently named as one of Missouri’s Association of Colleges & Teacher Education’s (MACTE) Outstanding Beginner Teachers for 2013! So proud of her. Jamie, THANK YOU!!
These people are only a sample of the amazing teachers in my life. There are so many more and new ones are added regularly!
Think: Is there someone in your life that has taught you a lesson you’ll never forget? It may not be a formal teacher in the education system. It doesn’t have to be. In fact, some of the best teachers are those that you encounter every day like friends, parents, grandparents, mentors, etc.
Don’t underestimate the power of learning. One last challenge: Strive to be a teacher in life. Lead. Help someone in need. Pay it forward.