The Impact of a Teacher

by Arlene Birt


Share about a teacher who impacted your life.

This was the topic assigned to discuss around our tables at the school’s teacher appreciation banquet.  A representative from each table was to share with the whole group after the meal.  It was interesting to hear what people shared regarding teachers.  Many of the teachers spoken of had made an impact by caring for the students, taking time for students, listening, going out of their way to help and support, and making their concern for students very evident.

I believe the relationship aspect of teaching is so important.  One person shared about two teachers.  Both teachers had shown care for the students.  Another shared about her high school art teacher who just listened.

I could name several teachers who had an impact on me.  One is my high school speech and English teacher.  He was a rather eccentric man and had a wreck of a classroom, but I learned a lot from him, and he took time to coach me and help me with speech class.  I was shy, but he worked with me and I ended up being on the speech team.  I still remember some things he taught me.

Another teacher who made an impact is a professor from my graduate program.  The classes were online, so I hadn’t met him, but he communicated well and often through the courses and gave good advice and worked with me.  I had difficulty writing lesson objectives to his specifications, but he coached me and offered to give back some points if I would rewrite them.  I did, and he did.  He also gave caring advice – like, I should be getting more sleep.  He contacted me after graduation and took time to meet with me and chat.

I also think of one of my elementary teachers who listened and gave counsel.  I was a worrier as a child, and this teacher helped me deal with my fears.

Even though I am the teacher now, I am still learning and I think of two administrators who have impacted my life and teaching.  Both of them will sit and listen and share and give counsel and not look at the clock or make me feel like I am imposing on their time.  They both have helped me with my growth and professional learning.

I asked one of these administrators to help me with the certification project I’m working on, and his response was, “Sure, I’d be glad to help.”  He sat with me for quite a while, studying the requirements and specifications, and gave helpful advice and guidance.  I respect his repertoire of learning and experience and am very grateful for this help.  Here again I was given advice and time to talk.

I see that common thread in all of these teachers – they took time, they listened, and they cared.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  The emails are already coming, offering discounts, gifts, and offers of appreciation for teachers.  I want to express my appreciation to teachers who have impacted my life.

Some ideas for showing appreciation to teachers:

  • Pray for us, and let us know you are praying.
  • Send a note or card.
  • Give a student-made note.
  • Share a specific memory, a favorite thing from my class, a lesson you enjoyed.
  • Our student council is doing a free car wash for the teacher’s cars this week.
  • One year, some of the moms provided lunches for the teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • Send us photos of our class, our activities, and events.

There are many ideas online and it’s always fun to receive these gifts and cards.  I appreciate any of the things I’m given, but I am not asking for gifts. Just receiving a note, a hand-made card, or an email with the gift of words is meaningful to me.

Blessings to all teachers!

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CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt

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