by Libby Hellmann
A good friend of mine left the business world 10 years ago to become a teacher in the Chicago public schools. He went back to school, earned a Masters of Education, and now teaches fourth grade. When I asked him why he gave up the lucrative income of a financial planner for the more modest salary a teacher makes, he said he wanted to be remembered as someone who gave rather than took. He wanted to leave the world a little bit better than he found it.
Over the years, he’s done some terrifically creative things on a shoe-string budget. Things his students will remember for the rest of their lives. Like the murals in these pictures that depict “technology through the ages.” The kids researched, designed, painted the mural all by themselves. They did such a wonderful job, in fact, that the mural hung in the Art Institute of Chicago for a few days. Students brought their families down for a special viewing. They drank punch and cookies and explained what they’d created to parents and friends. Chances are those students will never forget the experience. Or the teacher who made it possible.
Don’t all of us have a teacher who we’ll never forget? Who inspired us to reach just a little farther, and in doing so, changed our lives? For me, it was my high school history teacher, now herself an accomplished author. She taught me how to think, analyze, and most of all, how to write a paper. The secret, she said, was “T.E.C.” (Thesis, Evidence, Conclusion). It always worked. It made college a breeze, graduate school too. I still use it for articles and speeches I write professionally, and I taught it to my children. (For a price I’ll teach it to you). In fact, T.E.C. just might have been what eventually turned me into a writer.
But enough about me. What about you? Graduation time is upon us. Who’s the teacher you’ll never forget?
P.S. For all the mothers out there, you are the most important teachers your children will ever have. Enjoy your day!