“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” -Albert Einstein
Apparently it's National Teacher Appreciation Week. With that in mind, I'd like to take a moment and step back from being critical of our education system, and think about what's right in our schools. Namely, our teachers.
For great teachers, the job is less a career than a calling. You don’t become a teacher to make a world of money. You become a teacher to make a world of difference.
I'd like to take a moment to thank some great teachers (and educators) I've had. I had an epiphany during an education class I took. It wasn't anything special, it was just realizing what I knew all along. I could never quite place why my all time favorite teacher was my all time favorite. Why he was such a good teacher. It wasn't the subject--I entered his class expecting to have a boring year. Boy, was I wrong. And I think the subject could have been literally anything, and I would have had a good year. It was because he was so passionate about both his subject and teaching. Enthusiasm is contagious.
So here's to Mr. Williams, my US History teacher, who not only got me interested in US History, but also gave me a model of the kind of teacher that I would like to become. Who let each student be more than just a face in the crowd. Who I will continue to visit, years out of college, even though most students stop visiting their high school teachers after sophomore year of college.
To Mrs. Bruch, who decided to show our sci fi class American History X, not because it was sci fi, but because it's a powerful, thought provoking movie. Whose class I aced, but that fact is wholly unrelated to how successful I felt it was.
To Mrs. Russell, my Jr. High English teacher who taught me how to write, to whom I thank for my success in any writing endeavor since then.
To Mme. Harvey, who gave me a strong foundation in French in Jr. High, that carried me through High School and enabled me to actually place out out 3 levels of college french.
To Coach Day, who may have talked a lot, but taught me so much about horizontal jumping technique, and helped fuel my passion for track.
To Mr. Reevesman, who made 4th grade in a new school the best it could be. Who let us mimic trench warfare with crumpled paper and lines of desks, and made each of us the faces of our class currency.
To Cathy, who reminded me that I do love French.
To Deborah, who inspired my passion for education, whose class gave a directionless senior a path to follow, and continues to be a supportive guiding force in my journey to becoming a teacher.
To Donna, my first introduction to Carleton, who encouraged and helped me through one of track's hardest events, and who was consistently there to support me all four years.
To Mrs. Pappas, my Minnesota mom, who not only is one of the most amazing elementary teachers I know, who I can only hope to be half the teacher she is, but also a friend that will be so hard to say goodbye to when I go back to California this summer.
To my parents, who may not have officially been teachers, but whose support pushed me to be successful in school, and who I still rely on for guidance in just about any aspect of my life.
To all my teachers I haven't mentioned. Some of you, like in any profession, weren't the best. (But hey, now I know what not to do!) But most of you did a pretty good job. Most of you made a significant positive difference in my life. And I thank you for that, because I couldn't have made it to where I am now without you.
I'll end with something great to come out of the "Hey Girl" Ryan Gosling internet explosion: this site. Because hey, we all need a little reassurance that teaching IS hard, and you are, indeed, doing a good job.