A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
Henry Brooks Adams
Do you worry about what the future has in store for your children, grandchildren and even their children? I do sometimes, but not so much about the fact that they will probably have to live with less then we have or that they will live in a highly competitive society. I have come to accept the fact that will happen. What I am concerned about is their ability to not only cope but to enjoy their lives. I am hopeful that having a little less material things will allow them to appreciate what we so often overlook, the good things around us.
I also hope that they will find satisfaction not only in the work they do but also in what they do for themselves and others. My belief though is that we need to help, we need teachers who open minds, we need curricula that stimulates an interest in more than just technical and vocational pursuits but also teaches students to nurture a discerning eye, to appreciate language, to enjoy nature and how to participate in society. The best way to avoid a robotic life is to again make learning a time of joyful discovery and to open young minds to all there is for them if they just free themselves from the binds that are so often placed on people as they age.
I love the teachers I know that still love to teach, especially those who stir the minds of the young. Here is a story that I really like. I especially appreciate how the teacher measures her contributions by other than just money.
What a Teacher Makes
A group of dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One of the men, a wealthy CEO, decided to voice his negative opinion about education. He remarked, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided the best option in life was to become a teacher? Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Then he turned to one of the guests and said, “You’re a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?”
Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied, “You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like an interrogation if the student did not do his or her very best.
You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them think with a critical mind and search for difficult answers.
I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make them read, and read, and read. I make kids listen… to hear my words as well as the love and caring behind my words.
I make them grow in integrity, humility, and faith by sharing values that will bring them authentic happiness throughout their lives. I elevate them to experience music and art and the joy in performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they take pride in themselves and their accomplishments.
I make them understand that God gave them brains so that they can follow their hearts. And I make sure they know that if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you pay them no attention.
You want to know what I make? I make a difference!”
Written by Taylor Mali High School Teacher and Poet
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.”
*Ten Things a Mom Doesn’t Want to Hear*
1. I swallowed a goldfish!
2. Did you know your lipstick works better than my crayons?
3. Does grape juice leave a stain??
4. The principal called…..
5. But DAD says that word all the time.
6. What’s it cost to fix a window nowadays?
7. Has anyone seen my earthworms?
8. I painted your shoes pretty, huh, Mommy?
9. Well, the dog sure doesn’t like dressing up in your clothes.
10. I’m moving out. (Well, maybe some days.)
Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.
Poor Johnson had spent his life making wrong decisions. If he bet on a horse, it would lose; if he chose one elevator rather than another, it was the one he chose that stalled between floors; the line he picked before the bank teller’s cage never moved; the lane he chose in traffic crawled; the day he picked the picnic was the day of a cloudburst; and so it went, day after day, year after year.
Then, once, it became necessary for Johnson to travel to some city a thousand miles away and do it quickly. A plane was the only possible conveyance that would get him there in time, and it turned out that only one company supplied only one flight that would do. His heart bounded. There was no choice to make! And if he made no choice, surely he could come to no grief.
He took the plane. Imagine his horror when, midway in the flight, the plane’s engines caught fire and it became obvious the plane would crash in moments. Johnson broke into fervent prayer to his favorite saint , Saint Francis.
He pleaded, “I have never in my life made the right choice. Why this should be, I don’t know, but I have borne my cross and have not complained. On this occasion, however, I did not make a choice; this was the only plane I could take and I had to take it. Why, then, am I being punished?”
He had no sooner finished when a giant hand swooped down out of the clouds and somehow snatched him from the plane. There he was, miraculously suspended two miles above the earth’s surface, while the plane spiraled downward far below.
A heavenly voice came down from the clouds. “My son, I can save you, if you have in truth called upon me.”
“Yes, I called on you,” cried Johnson. “I called on you, Saint Francis!”
“Ah,” said the heavenly voice, “Saint Francis Xavier or Saint Francis of Assisi. Which?”
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
A pastor, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man get up and leave during the middle of his message. The man returned just before the conclusion of the service.
Afterward the pastor asked the man where he had gone.
“I went to get a haircut,” was the reply.
“But,” said the pastor, “why didn’t you do that before the service started?”
“Because,” the gentleman said, “I didn’t need one then.”
One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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