Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Good Teachers Make Us Curious

             Good Teachers Make Us Curious

Ah…the smell of fresh crayons and the reams of stacked notebook paper in my local store create in me a sense of excitement. School is starting. 


I loved school. I loved it so much I became a teacher. My oldest daughter also became a teacher. Later, I became a professor at a college so I could teach teachers. My daughter coaches teachers throughout the county and surrounding area. Teaching and learning must be in our DNA. We love what we were called to do.


I’ll get back to that. First, I need to share this picture I found in my album recently. It is a picture of my husband’s fifth grade class. Tom is the cutie standing far right in the second row with the yellow horizontal stripes on his shirt and the big grin on his face. His teacher was Mr. Koester. 


Mr. Koester was Tom’s all-time favorite teacher.


We all have those teachers who influence us for life. Mine was Joanne Salyers. She was my second grade teacher. I wanted to be just like her so, when I landed my first teaching assignment in second grade, I was filled with joy.


Now, as teachers began preparing for the 2021-2022 school year, my daughter had the opportunity to work with a district embarking on an innovative program in the early childhood classrooms. She and her team spent the first day talking about the children coming into the school.


At the end of the presentation, one teacher wanted to know why they spent so much time talking about the kids. She wanted more about the curriculum and the standards. She was asking for the “how-to” needed to meet state criteria.


I never met her, but I can tell you now, she wasn’t a Mr. Koester or a Mrs. Salyers. 


I once asked Tom what it was he liked so much about Mr. Koester. He didn’t talk about curriculum specifically. He talked about intangible elements that made him want to learn. Elements of respect and care. “He made us curious,” Tom told me.


Mrs. Salyers made me curious as well. She valued my efforts even when I missed the mark. She was the first teacher to tell me I was a writer. Her words of encouragement could have led me to become a writer many years ago. 


But no, I wanted to be a teacher. Just. Like. Her. 


Do you have a favorite teacher? What made that person special in your eyes? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a test score. 


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