National Teacher Day: A Thank You To Our Educators, Today and Every Day

National Teacher Day: A Thank You To Our Educators, Today and Every Day

Source: Huffington Post

Today we celebrate National Teacher Day, an annual occasion to pause from the busyness of the classroom to say “thank you” to those who’ve made a difference in our educational lives. Whether a professor, guidance counselor, art teacher, or principal, we all have that one unique person who went above and beyond to inspire our learning. And for that gift–for challenging us and believing in our ability to succeed–this day only scratches the surface on the deep gratitude that is due.

In fact, we believe that every day should be National Teacher Day. Which is one of the reasons why we started the Inspired2Educate program, so that we can encourage a more robust national conversation around the many different ways educators leave a lasting, positive impact on our lives – not just while in the classroom, but for a lifetime.

So far, the program has received more than a hundred incredible stories of hope and inspiration since launching in February, and we hope to receive many more. One of the most rewarding and moving aspects of reading through these submissions is their incredible diversity and authenticity. Inspiration is a very personal thing, and can mean something very different to each person.

For example, a recent submission came from a flamenco dance teacher at an elementary school in Washington, DC who was inspired by her own dance mentor to not pursue professional dance – but to go into education. At school, she uses her classes to teach young students not just choreography, but important life skills like cooperation, hard-work, responsibility, and self-respect. “I always make certain students can laugh at their mistakes – and relax enough to see their strengths and weaknesses without being hard on themselves,” she said. “Together we relish in the learning process.”

Another moving story came from a math teacher in Massachusetts, who insisted she was “one of those kids” in 2nd grade who couldn’t seem to find her path, and received constant criticism from her teachers about her lack of direction. That is, until a patient and caring educator found a way to tap into her full potential by taking her out of the classroom and into the gym, where she learned focus and discipline while helping to clean lockers, stack yoga mats, and organize equipment. “There under the beam, I learned to add 1/4 and 1/2. Up on the beam, I practiced while Mrs. Smith talked about fractions and gravity, momentum, and muscle cells. She spoke of history and maps. I jumped and twirled, and began to know that the world was interesting,” she remembered. “At 27, I completed a BS degree. At 39, I got my Master’s of Education. I am one of the lucky ones. Someone saw me as worthwhile.” inspiration isn’t limited to the years between kindergarten and high school. We heard an incredible story about a young man who, after working as a 911 call operator for many years, was motivated to create and teach a preparatory course at his local community college for those interested in entering the profession. 911 dispatch training is not standardized across the United States, and many in the profession have little to no opportunity to prepare for the demands of the job ahead. Inspired by his mentor, Sue Pavetta, a woman who created one of the first standardized college dispatch courses in the U.S., “I decided to just go for it,” he said. Now a lead instructor at Palm Beach State College, he has prepared and inspired dozens of students for the dispatch profession. “If it wasn’t for Sue’s inspiration and trailblazing, I wouldn’t have ever had the vision to see this through,” he said. “My teaching success is because of her.”
Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and yet, educators around the country continue to find creative ways to light that spark within their students year after year. So “thank you” teachers, for all you do to make our future burn bright – not just on this special annual day of appreciation, but each and every day in between.

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