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Framed In Joy, Melissa N Smith

Mentors & Teachers: the quiet life-changers

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My High School English teacher changed my life. Since I went to a small, private school, I attended his class for three years. His room was musty from the walls lined with books, and music often met us at the doorway as we entered. In his room, I felt safe and seen, which opened my heart and mind to learn. Mr. Pettit encouraged creative thought, loved discussion, and pushed each of us to work hard and with integrity. Long before I arrived in his classroom, I had decided not to be a teacher. However, when I graduated, I headed to college to earn my BS in Secondary English Education. A few years later, I found myself standing in front of a classroom of High School Seniors as their teacher. What an adventure!

Teachers train to learn the art of teaching, but the good ones sacrifice to do it well. Instead of simply passing on knowledge, they inspire us to think deeply and engage with the world around us. When our children fail to gain a concept or when they arrive at school with emotional baggage from home, a wise teacher sees past the struggle to the child behind it. They write, implement, and adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of their learners because a good teacher understands that one size does not fit all.

My youngest son has severe Dyslexia. Any subject in school related to Language Arts causes him to trip up. While he has a tenacious spirit and a creative heart, failure leads him down the path of discouragement. Over the years he has been home-educated and taken classes at different types of schools. Yet, it has not been the atmosphere or topic in the class that made the greatest impact on my son’s success. Under the attentive care and creative discipline of loving teachers and tutors, my son developed a love of learning. In fact, most days now, he sees Dyslexia as his superpower! It takes a wise teacher to draw a child out, bolster weaknesses, and play on their strengths.

Do you remember a teacher who impacted your life? Most of us do not get the chance to thank those men and women for investing in our futures. However, it makes a difference to them, when we do. Over a decade after graduating from Mr. Pettit’s class, I returned. He was busy challenging young minds to appreciate Shakespeare when I knocked on his door. Our conversation was short, but I gave him a hug and thanked him for caring so much about his job and about us. It made a difference in my life, and I wanted him to know.

Is there an amazing teacher in your child’s life? Take a moment today to write them a note or give them a call. I guarantee it will make their day! 

“If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds and instill into them just principles, we are then engraving that upon tablets which no time will efface, but will brighten and brighten to all eternity.”

Daniel Webster

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