Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thank You to Teachers

Today is World Teachers' Day and I am asking each of you to thank and remember those teachers who influenced you to become the person you are today.

World Teachers' Day is today. Celebrate with a teacher.

Mrs Brooks was my Kindergarten teacher. I was a precocious, outgoing and exuberant kid with boundless energy as a very young child (I calmed down and got introspective later in life). I have immense respect for anyone who was willing to take care of a classroom of kids just like me. The patience that Mrs Brooks exhibited with all of us while starting each of us on our journey through the educational system was almost saintly.

Kindergarten was a wonderful introduction to school. Everything looked rosy.

Mrs Brooks taught us right from wrong, how to work and play with others, and the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. She taught us finger painting, playing musical instruments (tambourines, triangles and drums) and how to share with others. Throughout the years that I spent in that school, during which she left teaching and joined the administrative staff as Vice Principal, I saw Mrs Brooks every day. When I had problems, it was to her that I turned for advice. I remember her clearly and with great love.

The one room schoolhouse was long gone when I went to school, but
even larger schools still can have a small school mentality.

I had a great third grade teacher, Mrs Melba, for two months. Then she left. I never knew why she left, but her substitute teacher was horrible. It was my first introduction to a teacher with whom I never reached rapport. She refused to recognize that I was reading at a high school level until my mother intervened to allow me to access any book in the school library. I'm quite sure that if physical punishment had still been permitted in the schools at that time, my hand would bear the scars today of multiple ruler strikes. My grades took a dip that year, fortunately rebounding in fourth grade.

I loved my elementary school (most of the time). It still functions as an
elementary school today and the building is still this beautiful
mix of colored brick.

In Junior High (what is now called Middle School) I had two teachers who impacted me, and I seemed to continue my good luck with teachers whose last names began with "B". I had a second Brooks, but this was Miss Brooks, a former airline stewardess from the early days who taught European History. Finally I had a teacher who wanted to relate to her students on a personal level and push them to achieve their best. I was in a new school and knew no-one, so when asked to write down what name I wanted to be called in her class, I chose the name I have gone by ever since. I left my past behind me with my old name and never looked back. The world was suddenly new and exciting, and through the stories and photographs of Miss Brooks I learned how wonderful other countries and their history could be.

Mr Bastien was the other Junior High teacher who impacted my life for years to come. He was in charge of the school orchestra and band. I had started playing the cello in fourth grade. Now, with several years of music under my fingers, I was starting to get serious about music as a possible career path. Mr Bastien was a double-bass player and had a great love for the orchestra. That came through in his interactions with his students. It was his positive reinforcement that pushed me to try out for City and State orchestral positions and he celebrated right alongside me when I was accepted. He was a finalist for Teacher of the Year when I was in my last year of school with him.

Do you have a memory of a favorite teacher that you could share? I'd love to hear it.

Congratulations to all teachers. You do an amazing job!

And I can't forget those teachers who are members of my f-list. There are some incredible teachers who I share my cyber-life with today and I pass this shout on to each of them.

You're amazing!
You're awesome!
You're making a positive impact on your students that will resonate throughout their lives!

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