Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Without Teachers...

...where would I be?

I wouldn't have discovered how to make butter out of heavy cream and a marble inside of a plastic tub. Shake, shake, shake...pass to a classmate, cheer them on, poof! Butter! Spread on some saltine crackers and enjoy. Teamwork makes the best treats. Thank you Mrs. Billings.

I wouldn't have learned the power of friendship between a spider and a runty pig.  Or how the smallest voice could be the most powerful in a sea of chocolate. From Charlotte's Web to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, chapter books became my friends thanks to Mrs. Krusinski.

While I may be a bookworm at heart, a simple "I believe in you" powered me through long division. Math became my friend (for a while) and a teacher that frightened me at the beginning of the year was now my super hero. Mrs. Kerby, you made me feel I could accomplish anything.

At the end of a hallway was tucked a room-dusty, crowded, and noisy.  It was a sanctuary for middle school students like me who didn't seem to fit anywhere else.  With our instrument cases and giant music folders, Mrs. Grom and Mr. Santelli coaxed us from rocky scales in sixth grade to eighth grade band where we were convinced we were master musicians. A gift of music is one that stays forever.

She was the "Ms." in the sea of "Mrs."  She made us read short stories filled with gore and horror.  We tackled American poets and playwrights with appetites fit for college lit classes.  We wrote analysis essays and sat wherever we pleased.  We felt respected and rasied our own standards. I've never worked harder for a teacher-in high school or college.  Mary Styslinger (now Dr. Styslinger), you showed me what it meant to be a powerful, strong, and amazing English teacher. You were my model when I ventured into my first classroom.  You fanned my own flames.

I never had a voice. Suddenly I was a soprano.  I was shy.  Now I had a solo.  I trembled like a leaf.  Now someone belived in my talents.  I lacked confidence.  I now belonged.  We sang in Latin.  We swayed to American Gospel.  We improved to Jazz.  We sang in the dark while standing on our chairs-to be "in" the song.  Mr. Kochan, you gave me a voice.  You gave me the gift of my song. 

Without the teachers I have named, I would not be the woman I am today.  The woman who loves discovering new foods.  The woman who reads voraciously.  The woman who has confidence in herself.  The woman who can play the flute still and loves to sit and listen to a symphony orchestra, high school band, or jazz combo.  The woman who taught High School English, will analyize literature, and loves to edit essays.  The woman who sings in the car, even with the top down, because she knows she has the chops.  My teachers all gave me gifts I am forever changed by.  Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, and while I am always thankful for what they have all done for me-I am taking a moment today to pause and give them their time in the sun.  Thank a teacher today-thank them for what they have done for you.  Thank them for what they have done for your child.  Or just thank one for what they do for any child.  Just thank a teacher and make their day a little sunnier.