Teacher Appreciation Week

by Colleen Cook - Reposted with permission from the National Coalition for Public School Options

As Teacher Appreciation Week winds down, I wanted to be certain that I took time to acknowledge the teachers I’ve had in my life who have had an impact on me not just in my childhood, but as I navigate adult life.

Temple Grandin once said, “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher”.  I could not agree more, I find myself repeating this often.

Thankfully, I have had some good teachers in my life.  When it comes to classifying who was good, it isn’t always the content or subject they taught that comes to mind, but more their example and life skills I took away while watching them in their classroom.

In first grade, I was taught by Sister Victoria, she could be stern and had very high expectations, but the memories I have of her are all pleasant. She set boundaries and standards, and that was something I needed in my life.  It is her example that I try to emulate with my own children.

Mr. Hocker was my junior high woodshop teacher.  It was always amazing to take a piece of wood and — with his instruction and guidance — create.  He always had fun and never doubted my skills. I may not have been the best craftsman in the class, but he was always reassuring. If he could only see some of the projects I’ve completed with the recall of his junior high instructions!

Mr. Martell was also a teacher who had a positive impact on my life. He was my softball coach and always pushed me to be better.  He was a positive male role model in my life at a very critical time. The encouragement, the correction, and the expectations were what I needed and I am grateful for his positive impact.

My most memorable teacher was Ms. Weir.  She was relatively new to our school and I had her for speech. Ms. Weir was always kind, professional, and uplifting.  She believed in me and supported me. She did not judge me. She was someone I looked up to and aspired to emulate. Her ability to see me for who I could be has always encouraged me to be better.    

I am grateful for all the educators I’ve had throughout my life.  Each one has left an eternal impression. I know that my children have had their own Sister Victoria and Ms. Weir, and I am grateful for the educators who continue to do so much more than provide content. Through their examples they are shaping our future and making a difference.

Colleen Cook is a board member of the National Coalition for Public School Options and a long-time school choice advocate.