I grew up in a family full of teachers. My mother has been a public school teacher for over 30 years, so the value of education was never questionable to me. I spent my youngest years thinking everyone had a mom like mine. Despite having worked in a classroom for at least 8 hours every day, she still sat and read with me every night, helped me with my homework every time I asked, and made sure I had teachers who would help me thrive. As I grew older, I began to understand the gift I had been given. Not everyone is so lucky.
Thanks to my mother, I have seen first-hand the sacrifice teachers make for their students. Some people who are outside the education system see teachers as babysitters who get all holidays and summers off work. What they don’t see is that teachers often work well into the night, during days in the summer, and are scrutinized relentlessly. I remember my mother sitting at the table after dinner to grade papers, and then getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning to grade more. She obviously didn’t do it for the recognition or the pay. She did it because she held a responsibility to her students. Teachers invest a lot (and sometimes all) of their time, money, and energy into their students. They deserve a lot more credit than they are given.
The teachers whose classrooms I have been in through the years have all taught me something. Some were even there for me outside of their classrooms. They came to my dance recitals, pulled me aside when they could tell I was upset, and gave me words of wisdom that have stuck with me my entire life. Not long ago I was going through a memory box I have from when my first child was born. I was 17 years-old, and a senior in high school then. In the box I found a note card from one of my teachers at the time. It said “I want you to know how impressed I am with how you have handled all this. You are amazing and brave.” It brought tears to my eyes to look back on that. I owe the teachers in my life the credit for my success. If it weren’t for their support and encouragement, there is no way I would be where I am today.
Sappy stories aside – October 5th is also Do Something Nice Day. So why not combine the two and do something nice for at least one teacher who has helped or is helping you reach your goals? After all, if it weren’t for someone teaching you how to read, you wouldn’t be reading this post!