“Class, may I have your attention, please?” We’ve all heard that in our lives as students. It conjures up memories of all those teachers that we spent days and even years with; some good and maybe a few, we’d rather forget. Some teachers are inspiring, and life changing, and some of them are in the wrong profession. People are not perfect, and come in a wide variety. If you’ve ever seen the cute movie, Matilda, you may find it relatable, albeit a bit exaggerated. The movie is about a smart, resilient girl named Matilda. She loves a sweet, kind teacher named Miss Honey, but there’s also Miss Trunchbull, an exceptionally mean, unmerciful teacher that everyone fears. Matilda’s parents are also selfish and show no real love or affection for Matilda. It’s a traditional good vs. evil, but something that some children might identify with and understand. The movie shows how one person, Miss Honey , goes the extra mile to help Matilda and ends up changing her life.
I had many more kind teachers than mean ones growing up; Miss Wilde, Mrs. Nurse, Mrs. Peterson, Mr. Sando were just some of the great teachers that I had. The teacher that sticks out in my mind most of all was Madame Boyce. She, of course, was my French teacher, in high school. I initially wanted to take Spanish. At registration I stood in that line to sign up for Spanish, but my friends talked me into taking French instead. So, I signed up for 1st year French class with Madame Boyce. I liked the class and her from the beginning. She was so nice and patient and always had a smile on her face. She genuinely seemed to enjoy teaching and being with the students, taking the time to get to know them. She planned fun activities and would tell interesting, animated stories. Once we made crepes and she even had a party for us at her house (back in the days when that was possible).
My friends and I took French for 3 years, partly because we didn’t want to leave her. During those 3 years, she married and then she became Madame Hively and we were so happy for her. She was a classy lady, and being treated respectfully by such a person made me feel a little classier. We in turn, treated her with respect. She recognized the worth in each of us.
Today, teachers have a whole new set of challenges and problems to deal with. This world is much more complicated and it can be very difficult to be a teacher in today’s world. Some schools are like a war zone, and many times teachers don’t have the respect or support they deserve. They spend countless hours at home grading, developing lesson plans and activities. They often spend their own money on things to enrich their students experience. I admire teachers even more today and am proud to say our son is on that journey to become a teacher. He puts his heart into teaching and desires to influence for good and make a difference.
Children spend many hours at school. Usually between 6-7 hours a day, and around 175-180 days a year. That’s over 900 hours a year. Some of these hours are spent outside the classroom, at recess, at lunch, in restrooms etc., but a great deal is still spend with the teacher. When you can find teachers that work with parents, as a team, communicate and help to reinforce social skill and manners, it is such a blessing and help. Sometimes teachers are taken for granted as long as all is going smoothly. When it is not going smoothly and parents and children don’t feel validated, it certainly is noticed and makes for a long year. It’s been awhile, but I remember that we tried to show appreciation for the good teachers that our kids had in school. Teachers that recognized our kids as individuals and worked with their personalities and challenges. Not every child learns the same and thank goodness for teachers who realize this and are willing to bend a bit and accommodate.
I continue to take classes to keep my mind sharp and enjoy learning from the experience and wisdom of those teaching. It keeps me growing and challenges me to improve myself. I’ve often said that for me, most of the activities, sports, dances and even friends from grade school and high school are a blur by now. But surprising to me, it’s my teachers that I recall. The teachers made a lasting impact on me. They cared about me as a person and expanded my mind and world and are still remembered and important to me. They helped to begin my awakening and the gradual splintering of my thick, introverted shell. They helped me to see a bigger world out there and possibilities that I might be able to achieve.
Teachers are definitely unsung heroes and I just wanted to take a moment to recognize them. Of course, at times in our lives we are all teachers to some extent. Whether with our family members, neighbors, at church or at work, we have teaching opportunities. It is an awesome responsibility and blessing to help others grow and to feel important.