A Little Love for Teachers Everywhere

Outside of our family and home life, teachers are one of the most significant early influences in our lives.

When we’re young children, they introduce us to entirely new worlds as they shepherd us through the initial stages of socializing, collaborating, and resolving conflict.

How they treat us impacts our personal identities and influences our anticipation of what the bigger world out there might be like.

The best ones also have a knack for seeing what is unique about each child. 

They encourage you to value that part of yourself while helping you grow in areas that might seem like a struggle.

Without doubt, they shape who we become as adults.

Looking back on the people in my life for whom I’m grateful, my elementary school teachers spring to mind. I’d like to acknowledge them here, along with the gifts they imparted:

Miss Huebner, Kindergarten – Created a classroom full of love, joy, safety and exploration; she found a way to bring the sunshine inside everyday and had endless patience.

Mrs. Struck, 1st Grade – Discovered something special and beautiful in each child, told you repeatedly how much possibility was within you, then encouraged you to dream big dreams about who you might become.

Mrs. Van Dyke, 2nd Grade – Fostered curiosity for all things and instilled a real desire for end-to-end learning; Example: brought in an incubator for chick eggs so we could watch them hatch and grow right in the classroom, then taught us about agriculture, how food winds up in the grocery store and the economics of putting a meal on the table.

Mrs. Cagney, 3rd Grade – Gentle, yet strict; she had planned to be a nun before meeting her husband and used that story to explain how life could take us to unexpected and beautiful places if we kept an open mind and didn’t over-attach to just one single plan or path.

Mrs. Zak, 4th Grade – Fabulously quirky, yet also had an old-school vibe; she oozed a deep passion for teaching and helped me see that your career should excite you every single day like it did for her.

Mrs. McBride, 5th Grade – Could terrify and inspire you all at once! Walking ramrod straight up and down the desk aisles rolling a pen between her heavily jeweled fingers … click, click, click … commanding the room as she spoke with her Katherine Hepburn accent. She made it clear she expected the exceptional and that we were all capable of delivering it.

Mrs. Ankerburg, 6th Grade – Empowering. She assigned leadership responsibilities for various classroom activities and left you to figure out the “how” for yourself, never micro-managing and never scolding you if you got it wrong. It was 100% about experimenting, stretching and learning. Never about blame or mistakes.

And collectively, they treated me and my classmates with respect and kindness. Always.

What a gift to have experienced teachers like this! They served as amazing role models back then and they demonstrated the qualities I learned to look for in my personal and professional circle.

I’m forever grateful to these amazing educators for shaping my education, as well as my character.

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