Teachers Matter, Thank A Teacher Today.

teachers photo: Teachers teachers.jpg

Column: Something about Nothing, by Julie Seedorf- Published September 1. 2014

Mrs. Lewis was my kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Weir was my fourth-grade teacher. Sister Mary Donald was my eighth-grade teacher in Catholic school. Mr. Schmidt was my history teacher my junior year in high school. Mr. Bailey was my speech teacher and drama adviser my senior year in high school. All of these people influenced my life in a positive way.

Long after I left kindergarten, Mrs. Lewis kept in touch. She was at my high school graduation party even though she lived in another community and had retired from teaching years earlier. Forty years after Mrs. Weir shared her knowledge with me and my classmates in fourth grade, I ran into this former teacher. She knew who I was and what I had been doing with my life. Sister Mary Donald, at a reunion of the Catholic school 35 years after my friend and I had spent our time in her eighth-grade class, shared with us that she prayed for us every day. Without telling her who we were, she remembered us.

Of course there are times when you wonder what they remember about you. Was it the fact you were a good student or the shenanigans your class might have played on the teacher? I didn’t ask, and they didn’t tell.

My son’s first-grade teacher on his graduation from high school presented him with a large piece of art he had made in her classroom. She had kept it to give to him 12 years later. She did this for other students, too. Teachers care.

Today is Labor Day. It is a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. As with many traditions that are passed on from one generation to the next, we honor those traditions, but in the space of time perhaps the reason for the tradition is lost.

In our times we think of Labor Day as the last hurrah before school or the end of summer and the beginning of fall. That is why today I would like to write this column in honor of teachers who came before, and who now dedicate their time to shaping the lives of our next generation.

There is no doubt in my mind that many of the teachers I had during my grade-school years and my high school years have had an influence on who I have become today. Ask around and find out if any of your friends have teachers that influenced their lives.

If you think about it, our kids spend more time during the school year with their teachers and coaches than they do with their parents. How can that not affect their lives? Teachers are the people who educate and see that our children know what they need to know academically to carve a good future for themselves.

I can read. I can write. I can do math, though it wasn’t my teachers’ fault that I am a little challenged in that department. They couldn’t do everything, such as making someone that is totally uninterested in math, a math whiz. But because of them I can do the basic things I need to do to succeed in the world and in business. I also learned right and wrong from my teachers. They taught values and morals.

Tomorrow is the start of a new school year. I have not heard one teacher bemoan the fact they are going back to school. I hear excitement in their voices. Teaching in 2014 is not an easy profession. Not only do teachers have to take care of seeing that their students are challenged academically, but they also have to contend with more social issues, more state issues and a changing society where respect for those teaching our children is not always shown by students and parents.

Where would we be without teachers? We have lost many good teachers to jobs that pay more for their skills. There has always been the argument that teachers only work nine months out of the year. I am not a teacher because I chose not to be a teacher. I chose to work 12 months out of the year. We all make choices and if we did not choose that profession then we have nothing to complain about. If you have a teacher or a friend who is a teacher, you know the many hours they put in off the clock, preparing lessons that will make your child better equipped in the world today.

If we didn’t have schools and good teachers where would we be in our society? We would be a pretty uneducated bunch. If you are a teacher and are reading this, you don’t have to be a saint, but remember, for many students you are the adult who they look up to. You are the adult they spend many hours with. You are one of the adults in their lives who will shape who they are, and your example counts.

So, today, on Labor Day, if you know a teacher, say thank you. If you have a child in school, support their teachers. It takes a working team to raise our children to be responsible, literate adults in today’s world. Thank you to all teachers for your dedication, and have a great year

 

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