Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day! I appreciate a day to remember all the wonderful teachers that I’ve been blessed by in my life thus far. So many teachers; starting with my babysitter, Grandma Ida from age 2-5. Next, my K-12 teachers; then on to college, graduate school, supervisors, life lesson teachers and my current teachers… all have provided invaluable lessons that expand beyond the classroom. Many lessons continue to be realized long after the class. A few examples:
Mrs. Rife taught me how to research and organize a speech in High School English. When I have been asked to preach or speak in front of large audiences in the US or abroad, I use techniques Mrs. Rife taught me. After preparation, which includes identifying my audience, I confidently share and speak with diction, tone and pauses; and above all, I speak from the heart. Thank you Mrs. Rife.
Four years of high school Spanish provided many opportunities to try to convince Mrs. Swisher to let us have a fiesta day instead of studying boring grammar and vocabulary. Years later when I was in Costa Rica, at the end of two weeks Spanish immersion, I found myself engaged in a conversation (albeit with baby Spanish) with a Jewish family about what it was like to live in a country that is predominately Catholic. I thought, “Muchas gracias, Señora Swisher!”
One of the most important lessons I learned was from my band teacher, Mr. Stine. I was a percussionist and we tried out for parts. I wanted one of the exciting drum parts. He gave me the triangle part. I was disappointed, angry and a bit of a brat, thinking the triangle part was below my skills. Mr. Stine gave me a strong reprimand and said something like… it doesn’t matter what the part is, but what I would bring to it. He went on to say that in life I may get the triangle parts... whatever my role, big or small, it would be the passion and enthusiasm I brought that would define my success. Well, Mr. Stine was right. Throughout life I have found the passion and enthusiasm in where I’m led. And I’ve used that speech with my own children. And I am so grateful for that huge lesson through what seemed to be a little triangle piece! Thank you Mr. Stine!
I have watched the magic of teachers in my children’s lives. During this time of pandemic and their college classes moving to online learning, I have compassion for the ways teachers are adapting and providing learning, while learning new ways themselves, of doing so. My own continued education at The Chaplaincy Institute has moved to online. Not what I wished for when I reentered studies; however, I am so impressed and proud to be at an institution that is adapting and improving upon this unforeseen situation.
Today I received a message from our Dean, Rev. Katrina Leathers, regarding my Theological Literacy class next week. This is how the message began…
“I hope that you and your loved ones are finding many moments of beauty and joy in the midst of these oh-so-interesting times. May you all be safe and well and find unforeseen gifts at each unexpected turn.”
And in the midst of our world situation, this displays the heart of the Dean, The Chaplaincy Institute, the staff and the teachers. I see the same in the college institutions my children are now part of, and through the many friends I know of that are teachers! All of these teachers/educators remind me to bring my heart to all things! To all those who have taught me… to all those who have taught others: THANK YOU!!!