Do you remember your first grade teacher? Or do you have a favorite teacher from middle school or high school that you fondly remember? Odds are most of us do. I certainly do. My kids have been lucky enough to have very good teachers so far, with one or two that were terrible, and five or six who were an absolute godsend. Teaching, especially today’s children is not a job, it’s a vocation. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week so it’s time to honor those who take our little ones day in and day out, transform their minds and help them grow and learn each day.
When I was six-years-old, I wrote a “book”. It was about a boy and his dog. I recall writing and drawing the pictures for each page, going back and painstakingly correcting and improving them. Erasing, rewriting, crossing out words, rewriting some more. It took me a long time and it was the first taste I had of the perils of editing your own work. The actual plot I don’t even remember. What I do remember though is when Ms. Fahey, my first-grade teacher made a big fuss over it. She had me read it to my class, and then to the first grade next door. The kids clapped. She praised me. I felt special. It was the first time I felt the pure joy that comes from writing, and I vowed to be a writer. Lo and behold…..I’m still writing thirty years later.
In high school, I had a Chemistry teacher that I absolutely adored. Mr. Bianchi was a loving grandfather type. For a shy girl being raised by a single mother and who needed a self-esteem boost, Mr. Bianchi believed in me, which taught me to believe in myself. I grew to love Chemistry and later Physics, not because of the class content, but because Mr. Bianchi was a fabulous teacher. His wife. Mrs. Bianchi was my Latin teacher and she also took me under her wing. Together, they were the most adorable and loving couple. I even profiled them for my high school newspaper. They are the grandparents I never had.
Throughout my life, I was very fortunate to have teachers who were not only mentors but who grew into friends throughout high school and college. Today, I am amazed at my children’s teachers. When my son’s teacher filled us in on the planned curriculum back in September, I thought it seemed a little high for what their age level could handle. Now it’s May and not only have the kids performed, they’ve exceeded the lessons. It takes an exceptional, patient, and gifted person to mold young minds and enable them to have fun while learning.
The sad truth is that often we overlook the power of a good teacher. If our kids have one, we’re happy but don’t really appreciate all that they do; the many longs nights spent planning interesting lessons, the lack of supplies they have (and the way they often purchase their own materials), and the patience they show our children everyday, despite what is going on in their personal lives. For kids who don’t have support at home, sometimes a teacher is all they have.
So in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I’d like to extend a hearty thank you to all the teachers who are doing a fabulous job with our children and who treat them with the decency and respect they deserve. A good teacher can change a child’s life.
Who was your favorite teacher? How did they help you? Tell us your story in the comments below.
There’s nothing like the real thing, but here’s the next best: 40 Best Fictional Teachers!