Giving life to the soul…

I have always felt that teaching has to be the most underpaid and under recognized profession in the world. And yet, the friends that I have that are teachers have such a passion about them that I cannot imagine what the world would be like without them. To teach is to put yourself aside and promote another. To inspire and to challenge; to build up and encourage. To teach is to give life to the soul.

This Friday will be Craig’s first time to be in a classroom as a teacher’s shadow. If you were/are an education major, you know that means that he will observe a teacher while he/she teaches, to gain valuable and practical knowledge. Craig will be at Lincoln Elementary School, so if you have a child that attends there or you teach there, be on the lookout for Mr. Keepes.

Do you have a teacher that stands out in your mind? One that influenced you in either a positive or a negative way? My first thought was my first grade teacher, Miss Sutherland. I remember that she was young (I thought that even in first grade) and very pretty. I remember that she was very kind and had the softest hands. One day, I had fallen on the playground and when we went back to our rooms, my knee was bleeding. I remember one of the children telling Miss Sutherland that I was hurt and how she stopped what she was doing to clean up my knee and put a band-aid on it. A few months into the school year, Miss Sutherland got married. I don’t remember what her married name was, but I remember that they went to Hawaii on she and her husband went to Hawaii on their honeymoon. When they returned, she threw a luau for us, complete with fresh pineapple that she brought back with her.

Miss Hartley is another teacher that stands out in my mind. She was our physical education and health teacher. She was also my home room teacher in eighth grade. Miss Hartley was a large woman with a large personality. She always pushed me to work hard at sports and not just “slide by”. I remember many times that Miss Hartley would give me and other students a ride home from basketball or volleyball practice, when we otherwise might not be able to stay after school.

I had many good teachers growing up and some that were not so good. I had teachers who didn’t try to hide their prejudice to the children that were bussed into our school district. I had teachers that had issues with alcohol and other substance abuse. There were lessons learned from these teachers as well. I understood at a young age that there was injustice in the world. How being different, in some peoples’ eyes, was a reason for ridicule and shame. But for the most part, I had teachers that genuinely seemed to have a passion for what they were doing.

Art and literature were my favorite subjects and as I grew older, these classes were what kept me interested in being in school. I loved to draw and enjoyed nothing more than being handed a blank sheet of paper and being told, “Here, create whatever you want.” I remember the day that John Lennon was shot and even though I couldn’t play it, I had his latest cassette with me. I drew the cover, which was a picture of John and Yoko, in art class that day. I still have that picture and often take it out and reflect on that day and that art class and the kind man who taught it.

To say I love to read is like saying we need oxygen to breathe. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have a book or several that I was in the middle of reading. In fact, that is probably the worst thing, other than the pain, that I have experienced with this illness…the time when I couldn’t read because of my blurred vision. Even now, I have to do it in small doses, or it makes my eyes and head ache. But even as a small child, I knew the joy of disappearing into a book and the adventures I would find there.

In high school, my literature classes forced me out of my limited world of reading and I experienced various styles of writing. I found soul mates in some authors, such as Harper Lee and Rudyard Kipling and John Steinbeck. Even through reading authors that I didn’t like, I learned a great deal about form and structure.

There are some authors that are old friends, like Laura Lee Hope, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, H. G. Wells, Beatrix Potter. Oh, my list could go on and on. And what is so exciting to me is, there are millions of authors out there that I haven’t discovered yet…just waiting for me to find them.

As I think of Craig preparing to go into the classroom, I’m excited for him. I’m excited for the children he will encounter and the lives he will be able to mold. I am thankful and grateful to the teachers I had and the lessons I learned. I am a better person because you were in my life! God bless teachers everywhere!

A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.  ~Author Unknown

Modern cynics and skeptics… see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.  ~John F. Kennedy

1 thought on “Giving life to the soul…

  1. Wow!! I can’t tell you how refreshing as a teacher this blog was to read! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement along my journey to becoming a teacher 🙂 I love you!


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