I, myself, am not a teacher. I am the child of a very dedicated teacher. I must say that once a teacher, always a teacher! Growing up in a thriving learning environment, it was not necessarily the subject that was taught but rather the opening of doors to curiosity and wonderment of the world around me. Now, as an adult, when I go out into the world, I am saddened when I meet someone who did not have that same seed of intrigue planted in them as a child. The colors of knowledge and the woven tapestry of fulfillment of continually being a student of life, I believe, begets substance and meaning in one’s life.
How much can a preschool teacher or a preschool director positively influence the lives of students?
We are in a time where hard data is needed to quantify human experiences. This is all well and good but teaching children is more than just the subject at hand, teachers spend a good portion of their day with their students. This has a significant impact on all parties. I chuckle at the previous question because you and I both know that our world is transformed by one child at a time. How does one measure such an important task?
I suppose you could say that I come from a long family line of educators and teachers. My grandmother on my mother’s side was a director of a daycare for their local church. When visiting her during the summer, I would ride the trikes in the play yard with the other children. I now work for a company, I am proud to say, that sells those very same trikes. The topic of education has been a core discussion most of my life.
Needless to say, all of my family members who were educators had a positive impact on my life. The most amazing memories I have had where not in the moments of learning the alphabet or the endless hours of tutoring that was spent with me when I struggled in a subject or even the fond memories I have of helping my father decorate his classroom for the new school year. The most profound moments of education, for me, are in the moments of reflection when I utilized a task I had been taught or when a bit of knowledge flowers into another.
Doors and opportunities continue to open for me due to those formative years of learning.
On the passing of my grandmother, I was amazed by the number of people that came to pay their respects. Former students and entire families poured into the funeral home. I found out that each one had been positively influenced by my grandmother. She was 93 years old when she passed; most of these individuals had been children she taught who now brought their own children to say good-bye to a wonderful preschool director.
One of the teachers stood up to speak and told a story of how my grandmother, being the director, each school year would tell the teachers that she did not care about sick leave. She would go on to quote my grandmother, “If you are sick, then call in sick, but if you wake up and have no love in your heart, do not come in that day because some of these children will only experience kindness and love in their lives from this safe place.”
While riding my trikes around and around in the yard when I was young, I did not know that I was playing with children that were living in their cars with mothers who left their abusive husbands, or that I was playing with children who could not afford shoes, or that when having lunch, that this was the only healthy meal that the child next to me would have all day. I knew none of this then.
All I knew was the happiness, joy, creativity, and exploration that I relished in such as safe and loving environment.
So I would like to thank all the teachers, mentors, and professors who positively influenced my life.
To show our appreciation to teachers, Discount School Supply ® is having a promotion where you can nominate a teacher who has inspired you to win a $100 Gift Card. Click here for the entry form and to find out more information.
Thank you. We appreciate all that you do.
Olivia A. Barrick, M.S. in Human Services
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