Loose Ends: Teacher appreciation

MEEKER | We are quickly approaching the end of another school year. Recently the celebration of teacher appreciation week took place in schools across the country. A national news story about one teacher in Texas reminded me of so many of my fellow teachers over the years. It featured a woman whose dedication to her family required her to delay her own education to become a teacher. This resulted in her taking a variety of non-certified positions in her own community while raising her family and going to night school. So many of the teachers I worked with in schools in Ohio and Colorado showed the same dedication.

There was another commonality that kept these individuals in the field of education no matter what obstacles faced them. It was a passion for teaching. It seemed to be what made them natural teachers. Lifelong learners themselves, they continued to spark interest and a love of learning from so many of their students.

Watching the newscast that showed a camera crew recording this featured educator receiving her surprise award, I was struck by her humility. It was obvious that she, like many in the helping professions, was amazed that she would be honored for her work at a job she loved. She considered her profession an opportunity to make a difference in her students’ lives.

Some of the teachers In the beginning of my teaching career shared their experiences in the one-room schoolhouses dotting the countryside of northwestern Colorado. A few were hired right off the family ranch and did not have the time or money later to continue their education. I found it amazing that when I interviewed two seniors who were working daily in the lunchroom and on the playground, they told me that when they were offered an opportunity to work in non-certified positions in the schools, they didn’t have any reservations about accepting those positions. The way they viewed it, they loved being with students and thought they had something to offer.

A passion for teaching goes hand in hand with teaching young people skills they can use later in life. The teachers who connect with all of their students often keep in touch with them for many years. These educators demonstrated their care and concern for all their students in so many small ways.

They were able to convey to those in their classrooms that they were able to see the good in each and every one of them. It was as if every day in that classroom someone could say they felt appreciated. I have never come across any survey but talking with local graduates, many said they felt as if their favorite teacher was able to make students feel as if they were important. They viewed it as a gift to them — their own student appreciation day.

By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special to the Herald Times