It’s Teacher Appreciation Week here in the US and for educators it is often a time to reflect on those who helped us become the teachers we are today.
I know so many teachers who say that they knew when they were very young that they wanted to become teachers. How many first graders are going home and playing school? You have to figure that at least a few of them will actually continue on to become educators. So many of my educator friends can pinpoint a specific teacher who so inspired them that they wanted to grow up be just like them.
That was not me. I wanted to own a restaurant, or be involved in owning some sort of business. Even after graduating from college, I did not really have teaching on my radar. I liked school just fine but it was not my passion. I came to teaching in a more roundabout way but now I could not imagine doing anything else.
When I think about the teachers that I had, there is one teacher who does come to mind as someone who played an instrumental role in shaping who I am today in the classroom. Mr. Sprague taught social studies at my high school. I took one of his classes as a freshman. It was called “Man In His Changing Society”, can you imagine?? I liked Mr. Sprague. I did not love social studies and I did not have a burning interest at that time for learning about cultures. What I liked about him was that he was so engaging. So many of my teachers stayed behind the safety of their lectern at the front of the classroom. Mr. Sprague was all over the place. He would get so close to you, and ask you questions. He would put you on the spot but in a friendly, non-threatening way. I took another one of his classes as a senior. A political science class. Again, not my passion, but I enjoyed being in Mr. Sprague’s class. He once spent an entire class period talking to us about the importance of driving safely in the winter conditions. He shared a story about dropping his glove in his car and realizing that in order to reach it he would have to take his eyes off the road. He let us know that he let his glove sit on the floor of his car until he got to school. He cared about us that much. Even today, teachers often fret about not having enough time to get through all of their curriculum. That certainly was true back when I was in school and it is still true to this day but Mr. Sprague thought that it would be best use of our time on that day to talk to us about being safe. He cared. For that I am grateful to Mr. Sprague. It reminds me to keep things in perspective. Remember, we are teaching students and not subjects.
I’m also reflecting this week on the great fortune that I have to work with incredibly talented and unselfish colleagues. There has been a trending hashtag on Twitter called #CelebrateMonday and I am so happy to say that I enjoy walking into school every Monday. I happen to work with people who can make me laugh until tears roll down my face. That is certainly something to celebrate. Monday is always full of possibilities. I haven’t had the chance to completely mess up the week (yet) and I’m ready to try all of the new things that I came up with over the weekend. I work with a collaborative group of professionals who give me valuable feedback and keep me on my toes.
I am also so appreciative for my online P2LN (personal/professional learning network). Since I have been working to become a more connected educator I have grown exponentially. I am gaining amazing resources, engaging in powerful conversations, and using what I am learning in my own classroom.
I’m hoping that you will join me in appreciation, celebration and gratitude. Happy Teacher Appreciation/#CelebrateMonday everyone!