02 May, 2007

A Toast to...Teachers

I received an e-mail from one of the classroom parents Monday... "This week is Teacher Appreciation Week!" Exciting I thought... why do teachers get a week and yet moms and dads get just one day? In honor of teacher appreciation week, your child needs to... sigh...just a few more things on my list that need to be done this week.

But with the help of X, everything was ready for school this morning.

I appreciate teachers. I honestly and truly do. My mom is a teacher. I grew up running through school halls before first bell and after last bell. I spent many an hour on a late summer day cutting out name tags and assembling bulletin board displays (which I loved doing). I have spent time teaching myself. I have the greatest appreciation for teachers.
It takes a lot to be a teacher... a good teacher in particular. In this day and age, teachers are required to do so much more than they were in the past... and yet, they do less as well. (in our school district, teachers no longer do bus, lunch, or other such duties. They seem to spend less time with their classes than my teachers did)

I remember most of my teachers. Some of them were better than others. My kindergarten teacher was wonderful. We learned about Native Americans (I lived a few miles from a reservation so we had a working knowledge already). We each had names, different types of houses were set up in the classroom... it was great fun.

In third grade I would occasionally spend time chatting with the teacher on duty (who happened to be my best friend's mom) learning how to spell challenging words. Other teachers would join in different playground games.

My 4th grade teacher had a great saying... probably a few of them. She would say "no, no, not, not, never, never" (which I sometimes say to my daughter). She would also say "horse feathers." She read books like "the Summer of the Monkeys" and we would color kaleidoscope pages while she read.

In 6th grade I had my first guy teacher. I think that this has to be a difficult age to teach. We did fun and exciting projects in social studies; made video reports; and had a working economy within the class.

Of course, in junior high, teachers, classes, and life becomes so much more complex.

My English teacher was probably the teacher that I remember with the most fondness... she put purple footprints on the ceiling and walls at one point and asked that we write about them. Being a person that loves the language, I loved her class and all that it offered - from diagramming to descriptive writing. What was there not to enjoy.

My science teacher was also interesting. In addition to teaching two science classes, she taught girls PE. In 7th grade (which was the better of the two years) there were 4 girls in the class and about 5 boys. We memorized the elements; we had heated discussions about evolution; and we learned a lot.

The rest of my academic career kind of runs together. There are a few stand-outs... my Soviet studies professor in college was fabulous. His lecture halls were filled due to his overt love and enthusiasm for the USSR and its political structures. My Constitutional Law professor was also quite good... soft spoken and yet quite confident in his knowledge. My graduate school professors were characters within themselves.

I would like to thank all my teachers... the good and the great... for their contribution to my life and to the lives of all the students who have learned in or slept through their classes. I also take my hat off to the teachers today. Teaching is often a thankless, underappreciated, and yet highly criticized profession. For many children, their teachers spend more time with them than their parents; the teacher offers structure, stability... and in some cases love.

So here's to you... teacher... one and all, short and tall, big and small... Thanks!


Beth said...

My mom is a teacher as well. I'm with you. In so many cases, parents get so busy that it's the teachers that influence and mold the children. Teachers definitley deserve some recognition!

Bre said...

As a teacher's daughter I can echo that "thanks" 100 percent! Great post!

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