Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thoughts On National Teacher Day

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week with today being singled out as National Teacher Day. If you're a teacher, be proud of what you do. If you've never taught, be grateful for those who do. Education is the key to myriad parts of our lives.

All of my growing up years, I wanted to be a teacher. Maybe many little girls have that desire if they've had good teachers, ones that children are drawn to because of the way they bring information to the children they teach. We all had favorite teachers. I consider myself fortunate to have had several favorites.

I graduated from Illinois State Normal Universityin 1961 with a degree in Special Education for the Socially Maladjusted Child, my minor field was Elementary Education. The Normal schools were ones that offered degrees in teacher education, nothing else. Many years after I graduated, Normal was dropped from the name of the university and many other degrees were offered. It had become a full-fledged university and grew rapidly but still had a fine teacher education program.

My professional teaching career lasted only five years. After I'd taught in a Chicago suburban school system for three years, I married Ken. Two years later, we were expecting our first child and we made the decision that I would become a stay-at-home mother. I never once regretted that decision but I did miss teaching. I used those skills off and on when I taught Sunday School or as a Den Mother for Cub Scouts, but those times were scattered over the years in which I was raising children.

Since I started writing, I've had opportunities to be a teacher again. I've conducted workshops at writing conventions, presented a topic on writing at conferences, spoken to church womens' groups about my writing life and written and presented other programs. Suddenly, I could call myself a teacher once again. It wasn't a conscious effort to do these things. Because of my writing and publishing credits, I was invited to do the workshops and speaking engagements. I've enjoyed taking on the role of teacher once again.

I've been told more than once by other writers that they couldn't do that. Stand up in front of a large group and teach a workshop? I'd rather chew nails. one writer told me. Maybe it's because I actually was a teacher those many years ago that I'm able to do this type of teaching now. Whatever it is, I know that it is satisfying to me to be able to help others in my field.

My blog which is meant to help other writers is just another form of teaching. And again, I find it very satisfying. I hope it is an aid to writers, gives them someone and something they can relate to, and offers advice and encouragement along the way.

Have you written about your favorite, or not-so-favorite, teachers? Every Family Stories book should have stories about teachers you loved or hated or influenced you in some way. For the rest of this week, I'm going to feature stories I've written about teachers in hopes that they will inspire some of you to write your own teacher stories. Check back tomorrow to read To Touch A Child.

Meanwhile, maybe there is some way you can thank a teacher today.

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