A good teacher can be one of the most influential people in your life. It’s a profession that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition and is often perceived as a backup plan for someone who couldn’t succeed in their given field. However, being a good teacher can be more rewarding than any other job— teachers get to influence minds and souls, they can give kids something to believe in and look forward to. So today, we’re honoring teachers. October 5 is World Teacher’s Day, celebrating the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels
My first memories of school were spent in a room covered with posters of letters and sounds. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Rickini, taught me that ph sounds like f and ce sounds like s. She taught us to read and write by repetition and by taking us on weekly trips to our little library down the street. I would have dreamed of a book like The Word Burglar, where a little boy who hasn’t learned how to read steals words because he so desperately wants to understand. The Word Burglar is filled with big words that sound fun and are fun because once you know what they mean words become building blocks—imagine every word is a lego and you can create any shape, any character or place just by putting them together in just the right way.
More than reading or math or science or history, we were taught that theres good and bad and grey in between. One of the greatest lessons I learned was the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated. I know that might seem underwhelming but that rule itself taught me so much more than just being nice. It taught me how to make friends, it taught me to help others, and it taught me that regardless of how someone looks or acts they should be treated like anyone else. Mrs. Rickini would have read us a book like The Same Heart, that would have taught us that although we’re all unique on the inside we’re all the same. She would have told us to embrace our differences but to never exploit what makes others different.
So many of my teachers taught me more than I could ever repay them for. As I got older their lessons only became more pertinent and relevant to what was happening in my life at the moment. Confidence, strength, perseverance, humility—these are only a few of the lessons I learned and I hope one day I can teach them to someone else.