"Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit." –John Steinbeck
“Teacher Appreciation Week” was last week, but since this is a bi-monthly blog, I missed it. Allow me to express a little retroactive appreciation!
My life would be very different if not for all of the fantastic teachers I had throughout my life. It was very important to me to pay tribute to teachers in my novel, Dunnigan. For those of you who haven’t read the book yet, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can safely tell you that one of the key persons in the story, Violet Simpson, is a school teacher. I had a lot of “Violets” in school. I won’t name them one by one here, but I would like to share some of their “fruits” with you.
Before I ever started school, I had a family member who was a retired educator. She was a TRUE teacher. She didn’t want to retire, and even when she had to do so, she still never stopped teaching! She taught Sunday school classes for the children, and she played school with us in her living room, anything to encourage that love of learning. She was all about teaching, and just as sweet as pie. She used to send me little notes in the mail when she saw my name on the honor roll in the newspaper. She inspired me to create Violet Simpson. I will always remember her, and she will always be my vision of a TRUE TEACHER.
Once I officially entered school, I had several teachers that just made such an impression on me. I remember losing my first tooth, and I was so excited that I felt I must take the tooth and show it to my teacher. Bless her soul, she smiled and congratulated me, even though I know good and well she was grossed out by that tooth! I remember a thousand little things from her class, and most of them have nothing to do with what we were learning, but rather, how special she made us all feel. A few years later, I remember having a bad fall on the playground. I think it was something like the second day of third grade. My teacher checked out all of my “boo-boos” and called my mom. Teachers of the littler ones sure had to do a lot of mothering during the day, and I suspect it’s even more so now.
The years rolled on and middle school arrived. WHEW, that’s just a tough time for kids. They don’t know if they are washing or hanging out, and sometimes they become unpleasant while trying to figure it out! I’m sure my memories are getting cloudy by now, but I imagine I was hard to deal with at times. Sometimes I joke with my high school students and tell them that somewhere around the 6th-grade kids lose their sense of humor and that they don’t get it back until they are juniors or seniors, but maybe I’m not joking? At any rate, some wonderful individuals endured me during that time, and I will never forget them.
High school and beyond seems like a blur, and that’s when the going got tough. The work was harder. We had all of the rudimentary skills and were expected to start applying those to more difficult concepts. There were some exceptional people during this period of my life who helped me stretch my legs and develop my skills further. I use some of those skills often, and I am thankful to my upper-level teachers just as well as my grade school ones.
At the end of the day, I just hope that everyone has a few special teachers that they remember. Even people I run across who feel like they never did well in school still tend to have that one teacher who they know tried to make a difference in their life. If you can, reach out to a teacher and thank them. I know they will appreciate it!
If you would like a teacher you know to win a FREE copy of Dunnigan, you can go to this post on Facebook and list their name in the comments to enter them in the drawing!