There are many, many reasons why I love teachers, not the least of which is I live with one and I have reared four children who teach or counsel students every day. Most of all, I love teachers for their hard work, passion for the teaching profession, and love of children.
I love Mrs. Jensen who excites my 6-year-old granddaughter so much that she bolts out of the car anxious to get to her class. I love Mrs. Thacker who had her 4th graders make a quilt for one of her students whose mother was suffering from a terminal illness. Each child made a square and Mrs. Thacker pieced and quilted the precious gift for Clair when her mother passed away. I love Mrs. Peterson, a counselor at Lehi Junior High, who took my grandson under her wing when he was diagnosed with a grave illness. I love Coach Wagner, who took my basketball crazy son and mentored him and his buddies for four years. His influence reverberates through several generations of grateful families. There are also two state basketball championship trophies displayed in the school trophy case that can be attributed to the Wagner magic.
I love Mrs. Bone, my 6th grade teacher. I was the oldest of nine children. My father was a farmer and truck driver. My mother spent my early years, cooking, cleaning, and caring for my brothers and sisters. We were loved beyond measure and we all knew it, but the rigors of providing for our large family left little time for my Mom and Dad to exercise much academic direction. We never missed school, our teachers were always right, and we were expected to succeed.
I was an energetic student who sometimes found more delight in frivolity and social endeavors than in school work. Mrs. Bone called me to her desk one day after school and asked if I would be editor of our class newspaper. I wasn’t sure I was being punished or rewarded. As I became more aware of the task I was asked to accomplish, I grew to love the confidence Mrs. Bone had in my ability to do this work. She evidently saw something in me that I did not see in myself.
The seed was planted as I learned to recognized good writing from mediocre writing. I learned to appreciate words and their meanings, and I grew to love Mrs. Bone. She nurtured the love of reading and writing in a boisterous, sometimes difficult child. I found that my life’s work would be teaching others the skills Mrs. Bone taught me. Five of my eight brothers and sisters found the same inspiration in their classrooms under the tutelage of wonderful teachers as they became teachers also.
We often joke around the kitchen table during family dinner that we don’t know anything but education, but when more serious conversation is held, there is a reverence and appreciation for teachers who have had a profound influence in our family.
How grateful I am for those teachers who nurture our children. I know first-hand the sacrifices made by committed teachers. They do what they do not for the money, but for the love they feel for students and the satisfaction of seeing struggling students finally grasp a concept, or witness the joy when a hard-working senior earns a scholarship, or see the smile on an extremely shy student’s face as she or he gets the courage to give an oral book report. I pay homage and respect for those in the greatest profession to which a person can aspire.