Hug-a-Teacher Day

Okay, so most of us prefer not to be physically touched by our students.  (I really try not to think about where those hands have been.)  But many of us have been touched, in the more metaphorical way, by teachers in our lives, so I did want to take a time-out before continuing the book’s blog tour later tonight to write about my other job–you know, the one that actually pays the bills.

     Today
is National Teacher Day.  To most
of us, even teachers, this means very little, and maybe that’s fitting.  I don’t expect free lunches and hours
of accolades because I do my job, which I chose and for which I am paid.
(That’s not to say I will turn down the free lunch, especially when it involves
an entire table of chocolaty desserts, just that I know not to expect it.)  But it is nice now and then to think
about the people in our lives who went above and beyond to help us out on our
journeys, and for many of us those people were teachers.
     Teachers
in my life have come in all types in all settings.  Like most of us unfortunately, I had a few indifferent
teachers, individuals who due to age or burnout taught with little passion or
patience.  I even had a few
disparaging teachers, people, who whether they meant to or not, stripped me of
my confidence, curiosity, or passion for what I might otherwise have
enjoyed.  Luckily, though, I have
had many more superb teachers, teachers who may or may not have been brilliant,
but were inspiring, passionate, and compassionate. Teachers like these stick
with you throughout life.  I may
not remember the details of the subjects they taught, but I will never forget
the feelings they instilled in me: intellectual stimulation, pride, and
self-worth.  Some of these teachers
taught me in schools with books and chalk, others coached me on fields with
whistles and wind-sprints, and others were individuals who taught me life-lessons,
most inexplicitly and inadvertently but all powerfully. 

So
today, when I should be entering student progress reports, I wanted to stop,
take stock, and say thanks:

To
the teachers who told me I couldn’t, for providing me the drive to prove I
could.

To
the teachers who told me I could, for battling that internal voice that left me
wondering, “Can I?”

To
the teachers who thought they were teaching me subject content, but really
taught me real-life context.

To
the teachers who refused to accept excuses, limits, or the boundaries I set for
myself.

To
the teachers who weren’t teachers at all but grandmothers, sparring partners,
colleagues, and friends, for imparting their wisdom and humor on a teacher who
didn’t always make the best student (teachers never do).

And
to my first teachers, my parents, who despite knowing what I was jumping into,
let me get into this crazy profession where I have the opportunity daily to impact
lives as strongly as all my teachers have impacted mine.

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