Monday, July 6, 2015

Impact of a Teacher

Good Teacher (Brick by Brick)
I am a teacher. Well, let me be more specific: I am an early childhood teacher. Even if not in the classroom. Being a teacher is what I am, not what I do.

I think about what made me into a teacher. Well, I really feel that it is my calling. It is what I was made to do. But it is also the impact of other teachers that made me want to be one.

I remember Mrs. Quinius, my first grade teacher. I don't really remember a lot about her. (It has been a long time ago.) But I do remember her kindness and gentleness. I remember finding a birthday card on my desk on that special day. She impacted me and made me love school even more. She taught me that a teacher cares for and about students.

I remember my senior English teacher, Mrs. Klipple. She challenged us to do different types of assignments (such as one-on-one book reports). She taught me that split infinitives were less desirable in writing. She made me think and helped me become excited about things instead of just checking off assignments in class. She taught me that learning can be accomplished in many different ways and can be challenging to all levels of students.

But the teacher I most often think about when I think back is Mrs. Jennings, my first Sunday School teacher. I was around 7 or so when we began to go to church regularly. Mrs. Jennings taught me all kinds of things about the Bible. What I remember most about her is her faithfulness in teaching. Many times I was the only student in her class. (Our church was small.) She always arrived ready to teach and helped me learn. She encouraged me and respected the fact that I may not talk much or needed a little time before responding. She taught me that every individual student is important, that a teacher is teaching individuals not "a class."

The impact of a teacher goes beyond the individual students he encounters. Each of these teachers are continuing to make an impact because they influence who I am and what I do as a teacher. When I see a teenager working in a VBS class, a teenager that I taught as a kindergartner, I see the continuing impact of my teachers. They are continuing to influence lives through me. And through the actions of my students, growing and learning and impacting themselves.

On days when I wonder if it makes any difference what I do, I think about being a link in a chain. Teachers impacted me; I impact kindergartners; they grow to impact others.

And I know that building and painting and reading are all of lasting significance.

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