We refer to teachers and the incredible influence they have on our children.
Tuesday was National Teacher Day, and served as just one part of the collective Teacher Appreciation Week.
When it comes to their education years, most adults share this commonality: the majority of us remember a favorite teacher. Some had a special fondness for two or three or more at any grade level — elementary, middle school, high school or college.
The grade classification doesn’t matter.
The curriculum doesn’t matter.
The respective school doesn’t matter.
The teaching mode — flexible, strict or somewhere in between — doesn’t matter.
What matters is that for some reason a teacher’s style has made a lasting impression on a student; thereby, earning the lofty status of “favorite teacher.”
In the eyes of most students, a teacher is not a personal “favorite” because of easy grades, youthful appearance or flexible attitudes on discipline. A teacher is a “favorite” because that teacher is effective. Through their own diverse styles, teachers who “reach” their students are the teachers most apt to get the job done.
Effective teachers aren’t an easy A.
Effective teachers aren’t an inevitable F.
Effective teachers aren’t too lax or too heavy on discipline.
Effective teachers aren’t looking for approval from their students.
Effective teachers aren’t unfair, uncaring or unfazed by the needs of their pupils.
Effective teachers are a classroom hybrid of all the above. And they are far more.
As we mentioned, Carolyn Ingram pegged their cause quite well. She should know. She used to be one. Now, she is one of the most respected principals in Southeast Tennessee. That includes Cleveland City Schools, Bradley County Schools and so many other education systems that surround our community borders.
We thank her for her dedication. And we salute her for giving us this idea.
In a practice we have used before, we thought it appropriate to learn — and to relay to our readers — what others have said about teachers, and the level of respect they hold for education. Here are just a few of the more powerful thoughts that we came across in our research:
- “If kids come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.” — Barbara Colorose
- “Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops.” — Henry Brooks Adams
- “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” — Jacques Barzun
- “The man or woman who can make hard things easy is the educator.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” — Anonymous
- “The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask which he finds hard to answer.” — Alice Wellington Rollins
- “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” — Bob Talbert
- “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats
- “Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.” — Anonymous
- “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” — Ignacio “Nacho” Estrada
- “As a general rule, teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.” — Anonymous
- “Never do anything for a student that he is capable of doing for himself. If you do, you’ll make him an educational cripple.” — Howard Hendricks
- “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” — Albert Einstein
- “Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.” — Chinese Proverb
- “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” — Tom Brokaw
- “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” — Dan Rather
- “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” — Mark Van Doren
- “I touch the future. I teach.” — Christa McAuliffe
As we have said, the words and the voices of others often say it best. This is no less true in the value of teachers.
To those who have joined this noble field, we thank you.
To those who have embraced its cause, we honor you.
To those who have remained vigilant in such changing times, we admire you.
Teaching is not for everyone. But it is for anyone whose heart is an easy A.