There are so many people that have influenced me and impacted my life in a positive way. But after mulling it over, I decided that a few of my teachers really deserve a lot of recognition. And these days, it seems teachers never really get the credit that they truly deserve. Luckily, Teacher's Day comes once a year and gives us the opportunity to give Teacher's Day gifts to those who touch lives every day!
Mrs. Roden - My 4th Grade Teacher
Looking back on my childhood, some of my fondest memories were of my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Roden. She went well above the call of duty making each of her students feel truly special. She made me feel like I could do anything and that feeling has stayed with me to this day.
The year was 1979 and as it turns out, it was the year that Mrs. Roden retired. But she sure didn't have what I fondly call 'senioritis'. She worked just as hard that year as she had any other year and you could tell how much she loved her job and the kids. There are several specific things that I recall regarding my 4th grade experiences and Mrs. Roden as a teacher and I'd like to share just a few of those things here.
She treated everyone of her students like a star... we were all commended for whatever it was we were good at. I'll never forget that at the end of the year, she wrote each and every one of us a one page letter telling us how lucky she was to have us as a student and detailing all our admirable qualities and encouraging us to do well at whatever we chose to do in our lives. She also wrote letters to each one of the parents thanking them for their support with projects, activities, etc and encouraging them to continue supporting us in our academic endeavors. She truly knew how to inspire her students to expect the best from themselves and motivated them to achieve all that they could.
Next, I remember some great auctions where we could spend points we had earned for good test grades, behavior and other attributes that Mrs. Roden tried to instill in her students. She must have spent tons of her own money on us 4th graders. My parents still have one of the yarn dolls that I 'bought' during one of those auctions in my old bedroom. And those dolls weren't cheap!
When I was a sophomore in college (Mrs. Roden was 72), I received a curious package in the mail at my dorm. Upon opening it, I was surprised to find a time capsule that I had created back in 4th grade (I had forgotten all about it). Mrs. Roden had us write letters to our future selves, put in articles from the paper, write little tidbits about our favorite foods and that sort of thing, and of course, put in a few photos. I actually shed a little tear as I was reading and paging through all the stuff in that fun little shoe box. How many teachers do you know that would hang on to 30 boxes of stuff (the size of her class) for each year that she taught for 10 years and then mail them to all her old students on the 10 year anniversary. Keep in mind that we all moved so she had to track down all the addresses and pay for the postage. This act alone tells you the kind of teacher that she was... she loved us kids and we loved her back.
Mrs. Roden and I have never lost touch over the years. Each holiday season, we exchange cards and letters (even when I was in college and living in Virginia), and occasionally I'd send her small Christmas gifts. So when I moved back to Minnesota a few years ago, I vowed to go see her. Of course, I got busy and didn't go right away like I should have. However, I heard through the grapevine in the Spring of 2008 that her husband had past away while my husband and I were out of the country. So I made a point to stop by her Senior Assisted Living apartment to share my condolences and just to catch up. She hadn't met my husband in person before (she'd seen lots of pictures) so she had many stories to regale him with. We took her out to lunch and had a fabulous time reminiscing. We had so much fun that we went about a month ago to visit her again. I am happy to report that at age 91 she is still quick witted and spry. I think she remembers more stories than I do about my childhood. We again had a great visit!
Thank You Mrs. Roden!
Today my heart is filled with sadness as I learned of Mrs. Roden's death this past weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. I feel so blessed to have had her as a teacher and a friend.
Inspirational Teacher Quote Video
Mrs. Shomshak - High School Teacher
Mrs. Shomshak was my high school English and Literature teacher. What I loved about her was that she took a special interest in each one of her students. I grew up in a very small town in rural Minnesota, but that didn't stop Mrs. Shomshak from trying to expose us to the Performing Arts and other cultural activities in Minneapolis. Each year, she arranged for our advanced literature class to see at least one play at the Guthrie Theater. Most of us grew to love Shakespeare - now who would've expected that in a little 'ole farming community? I view her dedication and inspiration was one of the best high school graduation gifts I received.
She was involved in many of the student extra-curricular activities such as chairing the prom committee every year. These weren't paid positions, but she loved to help out and interact with the students. And she was fun (and strict all at the same time). She walked the tightrope of being professional and approachable to teenagers tremendously well.
I was having a rough time my sophomore year when I took a job at a local McDonalds working something like 20 hours a week and going to school at the same time. I really didn't have time for friends and high school is just plain rough for teenagers some times. I must have been looking a bit depressed because she met with me a couple times after school just to talk and make sure that everything was OK. Her pep talks helped me manage to keep my head above the water.
I still laugh and I'm smiling now thinking back on the time that her and a couple of my male high school friends were going to pick up some supplies for prom. She was riding in her pick-up truck with one guy in the middle and of course one guy next to the door in the passenger seat (I was following in a car with a few other people). Well, my friend in the passenger seat was a bit of a joker so as soon as they started driving through our small town he leaned forward so it looked like Mrs. Shomshak was riding in her truck with a teenage guy cozied right up next to her (you couldn't see that he was just sitting in the middle). Boy did we all have a good laugh!
She was by far my favorite high school teacher! Not only was she skilled at teaching English, but she also knew how to inspire teenagers and that isn't easy to do.
Thank You Mrs. Shomshak
Teacher Appreciation Day
Say Thanks To Your Teacher Today!
In the United States, the first Tuesday in the first full week of May is National Teacher Appreciation Day. According to the National Education Association, Teacher's Day is a day for "honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives." World Teacher's Day is held on October 5th each year to commemorate teachers and their organizations across the world.
Whether you live in the United States or another country, a Teacher's Day is the perfect time to help your son, daughter or other child say thank you to their favorite teacher. They truly deserve a pat on the back.
Inspirational Teacher Quotes
Here are some lovely inspirational quotes about teachers from Inspirational Quotes.com.
A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.
What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation.
-Marcus Tullius Cicero
Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
To me, education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul.
One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.
A child miseducated is a child lost.
-John F. Kennedy
A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.