The INSPIRE section of this magazine is intended to feature a regular human being in our community. Someone who is pursuing their passion, living life to the fullest and has persevered through some kind of challenge or self-discovery. We all need a reminder from time to time that each one of us has an impact in this world. Telling our own individual story can inspire someone else in ways we may not imagine because we are just ‘regular’ people.
In some issues, the subject of that feature is obvious. Other times it is a challenge due to timing, circumstances, or reluctance. This issue, we wanted to feature someone who is contributing toward the development of future leaders and it seemed obvious – a teacher of the year.
And then came the challenge, the teacher we wanted to feature declined the spotlight. His words of his declination were simple and brief, “There are many other people in the community who are far more deserving of attention than I am.” Those words could only have come from a teacher.
So, the subject of the INSPIRE section this month is unique. We have never done it before – we are featuring an anonymous group of people. We are featuring people who make a tremendous impact on our community and our futures each day. We are featuring people who typically embody the philosophy of ‘it’s not about me.’ We are featuring – TEACHERS.
As we begin a school year, following a year that was completely disrupted, I think we have a little more appreciation for teachers than we did before. I am among countless parents who are thankful that we get to send our children to professional educators again – and hoping they can stay for the whole year!
Teachers do more than deliver content. As an educator myself, I knew that, but in mid-April I APPRECIATED it more than I ever had before. I had only one youngster to work with in diagramming sentences, studying civil rights, and introducing percentages. How in the world, do teachers do this with 15, 20 or 30 youngsters in their room?! I was struggling with just one. How do they manage the emotions (and hormones) of teenagers and keep the focus on learning? How do they manage the fidgets and short attention spans of elementary students and teach them? Teachers are amazing.
Teachers do craft the future. They teach subject matter of course. And they also teach kindness, respect, listening, persistence, and patience. They model the importance of asking questions, believing in the abilities of everyone, being humble and serving with their whole heart. I hope as you read this article you are remembering the teacher(s) who made a difference in your life or that is making an impact in a school system right now. That person is the feature of this article.
Today, take some time to let that person know they are an inspiration. You can do this in many ways. Write a thank you note or make a phone call. Share your thoughts and memories of a teacher on the Siouxland Magazine Facebook page or your own social media page. Here are a few thoughts from random Siouxlanders to get you started.
“I worked in IT for the school system. When I first started, I was in his room working on his computer one day… I was done fixing his computer in about 20 minutes, but also gave the hard drive an extra defrag just so I could stay to hear the end of his lesson! His lectures are the best.”
“He is an amazing educator who is super passionate about what he teaches. He cares for his students’ education and is always eager to see us. Mr. Teacher made me enjoy American government a lot more than I was planning to.”
“He set high expectations for us and it started with our appearance. Girls had to wear dresses and panty hose, boys had to have their shirts tucked in and pants pulled up. Occasionally someone would try to walk in with their pants bagging, and he’d yell “Put your britches on! Respect yourself!” He knew that when we put our outward self together with pride, it automatically elevated our inward pride. That’s never left me.”
“I don’t know how she manages a room of 12 pre-teen girls and 4 pre-teen boys! I can barely manage the emotions of one in my home. But she does and they LOVE her. I’ve observed and listened. I think it’s because she listens, she empathizes, she acknowledges their feelings and then challenges them to see it from another point of view. She has made an amazing impact on my child!”
By Dr. Cyndi Hanson