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Teachers to Remember (And Some to Forget)

I saw a cute sign reminding teachers that the next five days bring three things which will cause them to have a weird week: a change in time, Friday the 13th, and a full moon. Makes me glad I don’t have to step into a classroom.

Teachers are a rare class of people (see what I did there?) who influence others in untold ways. I’m privileged to say that several of my children have been chosen to teach classes, one in ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and others in adult education for on-the-job training.

Personally, the outstanding teachers I had influenced me to pursue this worthy career.

My sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Etchison, was one of the best. Standing tall and ramrod straight, she accepted no nonsense from us. Somehow she managed to challenge a group of giggly pre-adolescents to shape up and realize our potential. She lit a fire under me to pursue my dream of writing.

Can you recall the name of your first-grade teacher? Mine was Mrs. Hughes. But it was the other first-grade teacher who sent chills up my spine. In my overactive imagination she looked like a witch.

In fact, my own teacher made me apologize to this scary lady. Actually I brought it on myself. Someone in the restroom heard me making a humorous comment that Mrs. __ looked like a witch. (No one told me the walls had ears.) Mrs. Hughes made me go to this tall, homely woman and stammer an apology. It served as a painful reminder to watch my words.

Then there was my fifth-grade teacher, the other Mrs. Hughes. Built like a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, this powerful woman’s frame filled the doorway. When she threatened to paddle me, I eyed her biceps and considered writing my last will and testament. Fortunately, she didn’t follow through on her threat. Raw fear is a great motivator.

Our high school history teacher and coach, Mr. Davis was a wonder. He always had a perfect part in his hair, and we all wondered how he did it. A quiet, soft-spoken man, Mr. Davis somehow inspired our basketball team, a group of farm and small-town boys, to give their all against a much larger school in the county tournament. Their players looked like giants. Under Mr. Davis’s coaching we felt our team could mop up the other guys and hang them up to dry.

Now that some of my children are teachers, I consider this brave group to be almost miracle workers. Inundated by regulations and pressure to produce high test scores, they spark learning in sometimes reticent students five days a week.

Think of teachers as children’s substitute parents for several hours a day. Unlike biological parents, they have a narrow line to walk. If you think it’s a full-time job dealing with your own child’s emotional roller coaster, try doing it for a class of twenty or more! At the same time teachers are expected to get kids excited about learning.

Most teachers deserve a lot of respect. If you haven’t done so, send a note of appreciation to an educator today. This brave class of people has been known get a lot of mileage out of just one thank you for doing a job which would bring most of us to our knees.

Any thoughts on special teachers in your life? Don't forget to use the comment section below.

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