Last year I undertook a project to send Thank You notes to people who have had a significant impact on my life. In part it was a meditation on Heroes, the second of the 8 Conditions that Make a Difference. You will not be surprised to learn from someone who became a teacher that many of the addressees were teachers. Although I could not find Mrs. Kelton (my first grade teacher) and received a very nice letter back from the wrong Ms. Lovero (my sixth grade science teacher), I did make contact with many others from elementary school, high school, and college and expressed my appreciation and gratitude.
During one of the best openings of a school year I have ever seen, the superintendent of the Laconia, NH school district, Bob Champlain, invited students to be present to be recognized for success they had had the previous year. First up was a high school student who had significantly improved and was on track to graduation in the current year having come precipitously close to dropping out. Bob briefly told his story and he was warmly applauded. Then Bob asked the guidance counselors and teachers who had worked with the young man to stand up. Seven people rose and there was more applause. "Please remain standing," he said. Then he asked any teacher who had had the young man in class or who had worked with him while he was in high school to stand. Another fifteen people including administrators. Then Bob asked his middle school teachers to stand. Finally, his elementary school teachers. Nearly one-third of the room was on their feet. It was a great way of embodying a truth it is often easy not to notice.
This week is for appreciating all teachers present and past. The web of relationships that comprises each one of us is taut with the many people who have taught us. If you know a Ms. Lovero who taught science in the sixth grade in Jersey City, please say thank you for me.