As it is teacher appreciation week, I thought it was a good time to mention what makes a great teacher. I don't know if there is another profession where someone is responsible for educating, encouraging, inspiring, listening to, reading to, caring for, disciplining, and protecting a large group of children and young adults. Ask any teacher why they do it, and most likely they will say to make a difference. Great teachers not only make a difference, but they also do it with passion and understanding.
Yesterday I attended an after-school reception for a long time teacher that is retiring. I believe the highlight for her was seeing former students come back to tell her goodbye. Across our district, state, and nation, similar scenes will play out over the next few weeks, leaving an even greater shortage of teachers. As any of you that are in education knows, it's not for the weak of heart. So as we say goodbye to some of those that have put in years and years of their lives and most likely their own money for their students, take time to reflect on and thank those that have made a difference in your lives and if you have them - your children's lives. If you are one of those teachers, then feel proud yourself for the noble profession you have chosen.
Mrs. Jordan is an example of the kind of teacher our kids need more of. While she would most likely admit that she wasn't always easy to work with, there was never any doubt how much she cared for her students through the years. She taught both my boys and they are better for it. She loved her students, even if it was "tough love" as I know she had to use on my own a few times. She looked past their juvenile behavior and saw what they were capable of.
She once said, "it's not a teacher's job to mold a student into what we believe they should be, but encourage the gifts each was given". That's not an easy thing to do by any means, but somehow great teachers do it.