Monday, March 25, 2013

Salute to Teachers

The first time we walked into her room she sunk down to meet Grace eye to eye, something I’ve done a million times, but in my daughter’s eye was a sparkle I don’t always see. It was time for a new academic year and together they would explore new ideas, magical in the eyes of youth.

During the first few days of class Mrs. D would pull out her guitar and jump start Grace’s day in an exciting way. She’d share about her family trip to Hawaii, love for animals, and that her favorite movie was “Big Miracle.” Needless to say, it came as no surprise when that was the request for family movie night the following Friday.

The tootsie rolls in her classroom are infamous. The candy she has long used to reward behavior and kindness are prized possessions and quickly replaced what was once known as “bank candy” with trophy status, worthy of guarding with one’s life. Grace earned some and beamed with pride.

In very little time, Mrs. D gained her love.

Because of that, all Mrs. D’s ideas became exciting. Using photo ideas to manipulate math concepts were taught to me at home. As I read to Grace my vocal inflection was corrected based on punctuation. Story details were graphed “just for fun.”

And, as I watched her reflect this appreciation, faces of my own teachers past surfaced in my head. Mrs. Sonnenfeld first rewarded me with red vines and to this day they make my sweet tooth happy. Mr. Pickard inspired a tenacious spirit to persevere through academic complexity. Mrs. (Waltner) Ferguson was the face of compassion in the midst of a school tragedy. Mrs. Connor taught me about a "writing heartbeat" and, if I had to attribute my authorship success to one teacher, it would be her. Mrs. Francis became a regular part of my early marriage conversation when my husband promised forever to a new bride completely fanatical about entering every debit in the check register on the day of purchase. Blame it on my sixth grade bank book. You’ve gotta keep that baby balanced. :)

Teachers become a part of our tapestry.

Tonight in our city a Teacher of the Year will be named. Mrs. D will sit amongst the nominees. I’m thankful she is affirmed in knowing her wonderful work is seen.

Last year I didn’t know the reward existed so I couldn’t put her special kindergarten teacher on the list. Yet, personal reflection reminds me that Hannah’s preschool teacher isn’t even eligible and none of the teachers I named above were ever (to my knowledge) on the list but what they did in my life can’t be contained in a certificate or cash prize.

Teachers help shape who we become.

It is amongst the most noble of professions. Most definitely a calling, I now see teaching from the vantage point of a parent. It requires extreme patience, creativity, persistence to infuse their own unique, exciting flare with each individual student all the while meeting across the board standards, awareness of family situations, a 24/7 call, and a heart big enough to claim kids that aren’t of their own biology.

And that special gift is what makes my kids’ eyes dance with excitement every time they set foot in the classroom and still continues to bring a smile to my face when I am blessed to encounter teachers past.

Inspiring teachers enter our hearts but never leave us.

They help dreams take flight and strengthen our homes.
Don’t leave knowing that up to an award.
Share it with the teacher(s) you love today.
 
 
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