The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 9, 2014

Teachers make the difference

Why it matters: Good teachers hold great influence on our children's lives.

Many teachers pack up gifts and thank-you cards as they clean their classrooms at the end of the school year. But beyond those personal thank-yous from students and their parents, teachers deserve a round of applause from the general public.

So thank you to all of the teachers who put their hearts and souls into teaching, nurturing and being role models for kids during the school year.

Everyone who is finished with primary and secondary schooling knows the impact a dedicated teacher has had on their lives. The teacher who took the time to talk privately with the shy kid in the corner. The teacher who found thick mittens for the kids without any. The teacher who made every kind of kid — the jocks, the class clowns, the geeks and every description in between — feel valued and unique in the classroom.

These are the teachers who made you work hard, made you laugh and always went the extra mile to connect. The connection might have come simply by the math teacher being a good sport about the wind-up dentures dancing on his desk, or the note the English teacher sent home praising the extra effort on a research paper, or the biology teacher canceling a test so the class could go outside and identify new leaves the first nice day of spring after a really long winter.

Every age of kid can be challenging, and every day of the school year, good teachers meet those challenges straight on. Sometimes teachers are the only source of encouragement for some kids who come from rocky home lives. Sometimes teachers are the only voice of authority that teens will pay attention to. Sometimes teachers are mistakenly called “Mom” because small children put their teachers in that same category of someone who provides loving comfort and advice.

Enjoy your summer vacations, teachers. It is well-deserved — and those kids will demand you are rejuvenated and ready to tackle a new year in September.

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