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Thank the Teachers

Fall is almost here, which means it's back to school.

Pen & Ink, watercolor of an autumn tree

Mr. Rogers once began a talk by saying, "Let's be quiet for a minute. Think back to a teacher who made a difference in your life." My friend, Jim Carroll, was there; he said it was a sacred moment.

Do you remember your teachers?

One I remember is Mrs. Brilliant--that was really her name. Doesn't she look like a kid?

Portrait of a math teacher, Mrs. Brilliant

I was a terrible math student but when she made me stay after school for extra help and I stood at the blackboard, algebra suddenly made sense to me. I aced the next test and when she looked over my shoulder to see that I had solved the extra credit question her face absolutely lit up.

That look has stayed with me all these years. I didn't realize it then but Mrs. Brilliant showed me what to work towards in my life--to get that much joy from my work. Not as an algebra teacher, but as something meaningful. I wish I could let her know how much she meant to me. This year will be and is already especially hard for the teachers. How can we help them? Maybe hope for a Secretary of Education who's worked in a school? Who believes in public education? Can somebody tell me how we've let it come to this, that teachers have to buy their own supplies? Okay, I'll take a deep breath. Here's a quote from Dorothy Parker I just happened upon. It's about New York City, but I want to apply it to us all. "New York is hopeful; always it believes something particularly good is about to come through and it must hurry to meet it." So be hopeful. Think about your teachers, send them good thoughts and maybe a letter if you have their address. If you can, do something nice, like this.

Norman Rockwell, Happy Birthday Miss Jones

Where would we be without them?

September 10, 2020

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