Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here's to the Heroes

As most schools are just beginning the school year in the States, I would like to dedicate this blog to all teachers and offer my encouragement and appreciation for your hard work. Whether you are still in school to be a teacher, still trying to find a job, or safely tenured at a job you love, you are all amazing.

I believe in the power of education. I don’t think anything is more crucial to development than a quality education. Education is the key unlocking all future opportunities and leading to larger changes. Start with improving the learning of each child, and this will eventually help lead to the solution, or at least improvement, of bigger issues. Ideally, any education system would address the needs of all students at all levels, helping them nurture the skills they have and cultivate those they don’t. Obviously that’s not possible, so we have to make the best of what we have and do everything we can to develop in children an undying thirst for knowledge. Education leads to personal growth, interpersonal relationships, and a dramatic increase in opportunities.

The job of a teacher is an incredibly complicated balancing act. Teachers must direct students enough to let them continue the work on their own. They must provide guidance and support, but know when to pull back to let students develop their own skills, talents, and knowledge. Sometimes, teachers are the only ones who believe in the abilities of the student, so it is of utmost importance that teachers always believe their students can do anything. In the classroom, they must be friendly but firm, have infinite patience, and unyielding determination. Teachers are educators, role models and friends. They want to instill in their students qualities like genuine curiosity about the world, self-reliance, self-confidence, communication skills, or just any hint of interest in the material covered in class. I can hardly keep one of these thoughts in my mind while I am trying to figure out how to teach students to recognize nouns.

My time in Samoa has reinforced my belief in the importance of education, but it has also shown me how incredibly difficult it is to be a teacher, especially an effective, caring teacher who is passionate about their work. Those of you who freely choose this demanding profession day after day, year after year – you are the heroes who will help lead us into a better world.

(And because I’m neurotic and don’t want anyone who isn’t a teacher to feel left out or hurt because you’re not a teacher, I also truly believe everyone makes a difference when they do what they are passionate about. You are all great! Don’t worry, I’m not just saying that because I have no intention to continue teaching once my time with PC is done. I really do believe it.)

Special thanks to some of my favorite, amazing teachers. I encourage you all to say thank you to someone who has taught you something.
Mrs. Frasier
Mrs. Barnes
Ms. Smith
Mr. Jansen
Mr. Walz
Ms. Glaser
Mr. DeVries
My 10th grade Geography and English teachers (sorry I can’t remember your names!)
Mr. J (It’s gonna be a great day!)
Mr. Smith (Thanks for giving me a try in jazz band, but I now realize I’ll never really be a jazz player)
Ms. Dietrich
Erika Ellingson
Diane DeBella
Robin (even though I got a B in your class)
Claudia Van Gerven
Elisa Facio
Joanne Belknap
Glenda Walden
Deepti Misri (even though you made me cry more than once)
Alison Hatch
Celeste Montoya
Everyone else on the WGST staff and faculty at CU
David Meens
Sabrina Sideris (to these last two, I can’t say thank you enough for your patience, guidance and understanding. INVST made me a much better person and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.)

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