On Tuesday evening during his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about school teachers. This is what he said: “Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,’ here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect.”
That got me thinking about teachers that I know and have known. It called to mind some of the great teachers that I had as well as the great teachers that my kids had, too. It also gave me a greater appreciation for friends that are teachers.
I think that as a nation we place a higher regard on the latest tech gadget or apparel or toy or sporting equipment that our children “need” rather than focusing on the quality or commitment of their teachers and schools. Simply looking at funding for education it paints a poor picture of our nation’s values. But great teachers just keep doing their jobs with little praise and often with inadequate compensation.
I believe that we dismiss the sacrifice that good teachers make for our children. Too often I have heard people say things like, “Teachers have it made, where else can you work nine months of the year and get paid for summers off?” Or there’s that old ‘chestnut’ – “those that can do; those that can’t teach”. And yet we entrust teachers with our most cherished resource – our children. Our futures.
What’s my point? I had great teachers that I know I never thanked. My kids had even better teachers than I did and I’m not sure we ever thanked them either.
So here goes:
- Thanks Miss Boerding. You made me not miss my mom so much when I was a scared little 2nd grader.
- Thanks Sister Fidesta. You made Algebra and Geometry fun, even if the fun stuff had nothing to do with Algebra or Geometry. (Martaun and I still laugh about it!)
- Thanks Sister Thecla. You made me love drafting, design, and graphic arts (and I built a career on it). Plus you were just one crazy lady!
- Thanks Mr. Elmore. You taught Deb life lessons. We both loved you for it and we miss you.
- Thanks Dean Crozier. You helped me realize that the world was much bigger than just Saint Charles, Missouri.
Thanks Cindy, Kathy, Peggy, Keith, Mary and all the other teachers that I know who are still committed to their students and their vocation. God bless you for the work that you do. You are nation builders – never forget that!