Teachers – I love you guys!!!! That is how I would like to start this very important blog post. This post is about you guys, but I will just share a little background about why I am showing you all some extra love. My mom was a high school math teacher, more specifically, MY high school honors algebra 3/trig teacher. If you think a blonde cannot be a whiz in math, you have not met my mom! My dad started his career as a teacher and a coach (of half of the sports, both men’s and women’s,
because…small town school), worked his way up to becoming a principal, curriculum director, and now is a superintendent of a public school system. Every dinner time conversation growing up about “work” for my parents had to do with textbooks, lesson plans, grading systems, classroom behavior ideas, etc. They both had incredible passion for the work they did. They knew it mattered, no matter how hard it got. That’s what I want to write to you all today.
Teaching is not glamorous. The amount of time it takes to learn new curriculum, come up with lesson plans, activities, assessments, implement them one year, only to be told that everything is changing for the following year – it is exhausting! People may think they are lucky to have holidays, breaks and summer, but the number of hours they put in year-round reaches far beyond a 9-5 job. Also, it is no secret that they do not go into this career for the money. So why do it? Because it matters. They have the honor of impacting hundreds, maybe someday thousands of students’ lives. The subjects they teach, the way they teach them, the love of learning they instill, and the words of encouragement they give have an impact beyond what they may ever know.
Can you remember a teacher you loved? What impression did they leave on your life? I had an incredible middle school science teacher, Mr. Martin, who loved all things NASA. It was his first year at our school, and he was replacing another legendary teacher who had always taken eighth grade students on a Florida trip to the Kennedy Space Center. We got to go, too, and see it all in person. Although I did not turn out to be the aerospace engineer I once dreamed of, it sparked the passion for PURPOSE in me. I even remember wanting to be in the control room during a shuttle’s flight. I now link this to my desire to be a part of the process, and be someone who helps behind the scenes, rather than being the center of attention. I learned with my passion for space and all of the nerdy things, that I wanted to do something with my life and career that got me fired up! Just two short years later, I took anatomy/physiology, and knew then and there that I wanted to work in healthcare. The road to becoming a Speech Language Pathologist was not linear, but it ultimately fulfilled what I started dreaming of. I know that although my job title is nothing like the neurosurgeons’ that I work with, that the work I do is extremely important for my patients. Just as I had thought about being in the control room, and not the astronaut.
How incredible is it that the path of me finding purpose in my life, in many ways, grew from the seeds planted from that one teacher? I was greatly impacted by many other teachers in my life, but that was just one, perfect example. Teachers, you are SO important. Who you are, the life you live and work you do, it MATTERS. There may be days, or even years that you receive a lot of tangible feedback about how the work you do does matter. And there may be days or years when it seems like no matter what you do, it does not make a difference. My hope and prayer for you is that you can do your work in the faith that that last statement is a lie!
I recently listened to a podcast that introduced me to the creators of “Get Your Teach On.” It looks like an incredible resource for K-6 teachers, with conferences that relight the fire in teachers, give them ideas, tools and the energy to make them the best teachers they can be. If you are a K-6 teacher, check them out!
I hope this post means something to you, whether you are a teacher, or even a mom or dad of young students. I want to remember the words I wrote today for when I send my future children to school and think about their teachers. I hope I thank them for what they do day in and day out. We love you, teachers!
XoXo Lindsey Sholtis