When I think about the people who have had the biggest influence in my life, I of course immediately think of my parents. But after them, I think of my teachers.
In today’s society, teachers are given a lot of… well, crap. Their importance is underestimated. Their worth is higher than the number on their paycheck. I think often times people forget about the little things teachers do daily— the little things teachers did for them.
When I think of teachers, here’s what I remember…
I remember my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Bragwell. I remember how she called my parents and apologized for making me move a behavior card. I had gotten in trouble for reading out loud during quiet time. I was the only kid in the class who knew how to read, and she felt bad for squashing my desire to read.
I remember my 2nd grade teacher, Susan Cox. I remember how she made birthdays special.
I remember my 6th grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Herald. My mom had a major surgery the day my great-grandmother died. She let me sit in her classroom and cry.
I remember my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Perry. I was in her class when I discovered how much I really loved writing. She read everything I wrote and helped guide me in the right direction.
I remember my high school math teacher, Coach Klein. He was the lucky duck who got to have me for Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Statistics. Poor guy. I remember he would come in early and patiently help me with my homework every morning.
I remember my high school government teacher, Mrs. KP. It was in her class I realized I loved history and government. It was that class that motivated me to declare political science as my minor in college.
I remember my high school accounting teacher, Coach Bruce. When I was sick my junior year with kidney problems and my back would be hurting, he arranged for me to have a comfortable chair in his class so I would be more comfortable.
I remember my senior English teacher, Ms. Jordan. I remember how she made literature fun, and writing about it even more fun.
I remember my Latin teacher, Mrs. Holt. Even though all I actually know is “Aqua est bona,” Mrs. Holt really influenced my love for Roman history and Italian culture.
I remember my journalism teacher, Mrs. Williams. When another teacher decided to tell me I didn’t have a career in writing, she told me to forget her and keep on. She encouraged my dreams more than any other teacher.
I remember my English 1020 professor, Ms. Lynn. I never hesitated to go to her with a problem, even after the class was over.
I remember my editing professor, Dr. Gump. Though she intimidated me to death and once made me cry (okay, three times), she challenged me more than any other professor. As an editor now, I’m so grateful for her.
I remember my data analysis professor, Dr. Blake. Though I’m still not entirely sure what exactly I learned (sorry), I remember he was always available to help and answer questions.
I remember my reporting professor, Dr. Alligood. I remember when I felt like I was drowning in my classes, he sat in his office and listened to me cry and vent.
You see, most of these teachers probably don’t remember half these things. Some probably don’t even realize what an influence they’ve had on my life (or others). The thing is, I wasn’t some special student. These teachers went above and beyond the call of duty for everyone who walked in their classroom.
Besides my parents, these people have had the biggest influence on my life. They have encouraged me in my career, in my relationships, in my faith, and in life in general. They’ve been a listening ear. They’ve provided wisdom and counsel. They’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Wherever you are in life today, you probably have a teacher (or a few) to thank.
So, thank you.