While I was growing up there were many teachers that I can remember that went beyond the job description to assist me in learning something new.
There was Mrs. R my second grade teacher. She really got us physically involved in learning how to write in cursive. She would lead us in gross motor movements by having us use our pointer finger to draw the letter that we were working on in the air several times while she gave specific instructions on the formation.
Mrs. P was my third grade teacher and she definitely instilled a love of math within me. I do not remember how she did it but I know that without her I would not have mastered my multiplication and division facts that year. She also went above her duties as an educator when she offered to teach me needlepoint after I received a needlepoint craft for Christmas that year.
I remember my eighth grade language arts teacher who introduced "The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien. This is the first novel that I can remember reading that I actually enjoyed and it sparked a love for literature ever since.
In high school, my anatomy and physiology teacher was relentless when it came to knowledge of the human body as well as being excellent surgeons when it came time to dissect our fetal pigs. That desire for perfectionism still resides within me today (I'm not sure if I consider it a strength or a flaw though).
For all of these teachers I say thank you for your kind words or your insistence to try harder, do better, and to push myself further than I thought possible. I also appreciate all of the teachers that did not support me, encourage me and belittled me in front of my classmates as you taught me not to follow in your footsteps.
It takes a special person to be a teacher, someone who reaches the difficult to reach student. You have to have persistence and a lot of intrinsic motivation to keep going in a profession that is not given the recognition and appreciation that is deserved.
After all, who grooms all of the other professions out there...TEACHERS that's who!
To read and watch the piece on Taylor Mali click here. I do want to provide a disclaimer that the video does contain adult language and content.