What Teachers Mean To Us
There are certain memories I have of my high school education that will never leave me. I remember my Spanish teacher striding into class on the first day of freshman year - given his life as an actor on the side, he knew how to make an entrance. That day we practiced the correct pronunciation of Spanish place names in the Bay Area - it was clear from that first exercise that he meant business. He was at once outrageously funny and incredibly scary; he didn't just want students too seem like they were paying attention - he wanted 110% of our concentration, understanding, and interest because, for him, the beauty of language deserved it. And he did that five times a day, every day, for nearly 40 years. He was the personification of unbridled passion and belief in the work he did.
To this day, I know he is one of the primary reasons I chose to work in public education - first as a Spanish teacher. My classroom operated a little differently from his, but the underlying essentials were the same: I love what I do - I want you to love it too!
I see our Pirate teachers work every day to help our students look beyond "what" they are doing each day in class and explore the "why" - to engage in the journey that learning is. At times this is a real struggle, especially given the fact that each student is unique.
This week is the national Teacher Appreciation Week - time for us all to reflect on what teachers mean, and have meant, to us in our lives. For those of us that are parents, it is also time to think about what teachers mean to our children. How can we meaningfully honor and celebrate the work they do every day? US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tweeted a message earlier today:
It is wonderful to think back on the teachers that had such an impact on our lives. How can we all find ways to tell our teachers what they mean to us NOW? Please visit this page each day this week to hear thoughts from our students.
"Teacher" is a term that doesn't quite capture it all. Teachers are leaders of learning. Teachers are mentors. Teachers are community activists - they take "action" every day to make the community a better place, after all! For the time being we'll stick with the word "teachers", while also recognizing that they do so much more.
Thank you, Teachers!