As I See It

Teachers Play Critical Role In Our Life

God is still in the miracle business. This column got to the papers last week and with my computer down that was a miracle. Thanks to the editors who were patient with me and the computer last week. I do appreciate it.

   This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. It is a week set aside to honor our teachers throughout the Nation. If you are reading this column THANK A TEACHER.  One of the things I learned while in the Superintendent’s Office in DeSoto County is that people usually remember their first grade teacher. While looking for their school records the first thing most would tell us was “I know my first grade teachers name.” Looking back over the number of years I attended school both secondary and college, my first grade teacher is the one I remember with the most affection.

 She actually was related to me and was a superb teacher. She taught in a classroom with two grades. While I know this was difficult on her, we did not seem to suffer from it. I still have fond memories of the first grade book, “Dick and Jane.” It is amazing that we learned to read without the help of phonics! We learned by a method called “sight reading” which meant we looked at the pictures and matched them with words.

   I am afraid sometimes most of us fail to name our very first teacher which in my case was my mother and father. They had to be the most patient people in the world, because I always wanted to know how to spell certain words. They always helped me learn to spell the words. My mother always read stories to me and then helped me as I learned to read them aloud. So let’s give credit to our very first teacher.

   I was blessed with a number of very good teachers throughout my educational experience, and am very thankful for them. I have always thought that the three most important characteristics for a teacher to have are: firm, fair and friendly. Teachers that I remember most favorably were firm, they always assumed the role of the teacher, fair, always treated each student alike, and were friendly, or made sure that the students knew they cared about them. Think about the teachers you have had and see if the ones you remember as good teachers were firm, fair and friendly.

   If you have a former teacher that you can contact this week, make their week by thanking them for what they did for you as your teacher. An apple, flowers, or some other appropriate gift is fine but a “thank you” will be appreciated just as much.

   The best “thank you” I ever received from a student came at the young man’s high school graduation. He had gone through turbulent teenage years and I had worked very faithfully with him and his family. Things were going great for him and I was delighted to hand him his diploma. After graduation services ended he met me and neatly tore off a corner of his diploma, handed it to me and said, “If anyone deserves this you do.” Needless to say I was very happy for him.

   Remember this week to call a teacher if possible and say “thank you.” They will appreciate it.

“Billy McCord is a retired school administrator and an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is Pastor of the Pittsboro and Shady Grove UM Churches in Calhoun County. He is a member of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him: billymc@tycom.net)

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