Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Thank You Note

I normally participate in RTW but since YA Highway didn’t provide a question today (they’re doing something important instead) I decided to post on something else timely. It is Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs the entire first week of May (the official National Teacher Day was yesterday) and we should celebrate the teachers in our lives!
It’s kind of required that I appreciate teachers—after all, my family is full of them. Both parents, several grandparents, a cousin and my sister have all somehow been part of the education system. From an early age I saw the dedication, hard work and patience that is required of teachers…and learned that my career calling might be elsewhere.
I have many many teachers to thank, however, for helping me down the path I’ve chosen full of reading and writing. And I’m thankful to each and everyone one:

My mom (my first ‘teacher’ but also really my elementary school Spanish teacher): She taught me important lessons about reading, even if I was a precocious child who didn’t quite get it. When teaching me a lesson in the importance of spelling correctly/putting letters in the right order, she explained the difference between the same four letters in “bake: B-A-K-E” and “beak: B-E-A-K”. I turned to her, and with helpful motions to illustrate, “A bird can beak a cake” peck peck peck… (Good thing teachers are patient!)
My 3rd grade teacher: Her genre-of-the-month program changed me from a reluctant reader into a book lover and writer. Full story here.
My 6th grade Language Arts teacher: Pushed me to enter writing contests, introduced me to ‘real’ poetry by giving me a poetry book for a birthday present (we shared the same birthday), but most importantly, introduced me to the fantasy genre and Tamora Pierce through the trade book, Alanna: The First Adventure, which has greatly influenced my writing.
My 11th and 12th grades AP English teacher: Changed me from someone who likes to write to someone who knows how to write. It’s a very very important difference that she knew well. Although we were all a little afraid of her at the beginning of the year, her willingness to sit down with students and explain exactly why a comma didn’t belong there or how we could have better phrased a sentence was a priceless experience. She also introduced me to Jane Austen.

And I’ve had many other fantastic teachers (especially history teachers and many of my professors at Hamilton) along the way who completely deserve a ‘thank you’ shout out even if their subjects or interests didn’t directly impact my career choices, they most certainly have impacted me as a person. And there are other teachers whom I’ve had that I probably don’t even realize how they’ve impacted me yet—teachers have the power to sneak in knowledge and lessons when you least expect them. And that’s what makes teachers so wonderful.

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