It’s that time of year when my friends are sharing pictures on social media of their kids headed off to the first day of school. Teachers are anxious about their new lesson plans. Parents are anxious about their kids’ new teachers. Students are anxious about their new schedules. That’s a lot of anxiety!
I’ll be honest. I don’t usually give much thought to “back to school” until I see Facebook flooded with photos. But this year has been different. I’ve listened eagerly and intently to a friend who has moved to a new school, planned new syllabi, decorated a new classroom and developed new psychological “experiments.”
Listening to these plans certainly brought back lots of memories for me of the teachers who impacted me over the years. There were band and chorus teachers who helped me develop my talents, and coaches who made me a slightly better athlete. There were even those teachers who tried to make me more interested in learning scientific theories than music theories. Bless their hearts.
But it was my English teachers who influenced me the most. They taught me writing skills for which I will forever be grateful (hopefully they aren’t cringing as they read this!) because they shaped me into the professional I am today. Thanks to women like Ms. Gaffney, Mrs. Brown and Ms. Stephens, I developed an artistry for storytelling, an aptitude for vocabulary, a command of the English language, and an absolute heartfelt love of the written word.
Today, I have a new appreciation for those cheesy “thank a teacher if you can read this” bumper stickers due in part to those teachers, and many more, who influenced my life, both then and today.
Teachers seem to be “called” to this profession – much like healthcare workers, ministers and coaches. I believe I was “called” to be a writer and speaker, and without the encouragement, instruction and leadership of some very special ladies at a critical point of my life, that wouldn’t even be a possibility.
So here’s your “homework” for this week…thank a teacher! Maybe you can’t reach out to any of your own, but there are those who influence your kids or grandkids, the children in your church or neighborhood, or heck, even your Facebook friends. Tell them how much they are appreciated and that whether they realize it right now or not, they have the opportunity to make an indelible impact on those who sit in their desks every single day. The influence of a great teacher will never be erased.