23 May 2011 01:43 PM

What Your Teachers Taught You

by Dr. Rick

It’s getting toward the end of another school year, and we can’t help but think about what our kids have learned this year, both academic and personal.  We’ve watched them grow in knowledge, skills and confidence – sometimes in small and barely perceptible steps, sometimes in great startling strides that make us wonder who these new kids are.  Watching kids learn and grow is one of the teaching profession’s greatest benefits and personal rewards.  Parents know.

So we quite naturally – and with some nostalgia – at this time of year think back on our own teachers, the ones who made impressions, who sparked new interests, who developed latent talents, who encouraged growth, who helped us conquer shyness, who focused potential, who talked tough love to us when we needed it because they cared about us, and who treated us fairly, respectfully, and with a firm hand.  They believed in us.  Just when we needed it.

Everyone has favorite teachers.  Just ask, and you’ll get stories that can’t be held back – loving, humorous, admiring, maybe even regretful if we never lived up to high expectations.  The stories tumble out of us.  Everyone has at least one, and the truly fortunate have a few who will live in our memories and deserve our thanks.  Everyone enjoys telling “favorite teacher” stories.

Here are some thoughts about favorite teachers that can spark conversations with your children as they begin collecting their own stories.

  1. Remember a teacher.  Especially at this end-of-school-year time, talk to your kids about their teachers and tell stories about your favorites.  When they tell you Ms. Booklove is their favorite, ask why.  Is it because of her subject matter mastery?  Her interest in their growth?  Her ability to make a lesson come alive?  Her sense of humor?  Her sense of fairness?  Talk about your own Ms. Booklove.  Tell stories about why you admired her, what she did for you and others, what you did to make her proud.

  2. Contact a teacher.  It’s not difficult to discover whether your Ms. Booklove is still teaching.  If she is, drop her a line or email.  Tell her you’re thinking of her, that you have kids of your own now, that you were talking about their favorite teachers and you thought of her.  Catch her up on your life.  She’ll be interested.  Let your kids see the note you write.  This shows them you value learning, the best gift you can give them.

  3. Honor a teacher.  If Ms. Booklove is no longer with us, find a small way to honor her, if only by yourself.  Remember her in a silent prayer at your house of worship, raise a toast to her at a fancy dinner, laugh at a funny anecdote you remember.

  4. Share personal memories about a teacher.  Get together with some old friends if possible and reminisce about the old teachers.  Take a few minutes out of book club or TGIF happy hour and swap stories. 

  5. Encourage your kids.  Teachers are under lots of pressure today.  Test results.  Budget cutting.  Lower community esteem.  Insolent kids.  Overprotective parents.  Heavy class loads.  Homework.  Show your kids that you have high expectations of both them and their teachers, but you also have respect for the work and dedication necessary to face a roomful of needy kids every day with humor, patience, flexibility, and preparation.

 Have some favorite teacher stories to share?  Click on Comment below and tell us about your favorite teacher.



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