Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is a time when we get together with family and reflect on all the reasons we are thankful. As I reflect on the wonderful profession of teaching, I am filled with gratitude to have a career that gets to impact the lives of so many people on a daily basis. Understanding that this line of work faces constant scrutiny, it is always important to remember why we entered the profession – the students. As I reflect over my 13 years in education, I cannot help but to pause and give thanks.
Educators I am thankful for:
I am thankful for Mrs. Holmes, a champion of students, but especially for me. She picked me up and dropped me off for a year so that although I had to move, I could remain at my elementary school with my friends. I am thankful for her seeing the potential in a kid who did not quite know what she had inside of her. I am thankful for her setting a great example for me, as she showed me what a good teacher does. I watched Mrs. Holmes show up early and stay late. I was not sure if she had a family, but she always put us, her students, first.
I am thankful for Mr, Jewell, my African American studies teacher in high school who made it okay to discover parts of me that I never quite explored before. Mr. Jewell helped me to understand that Afrocentricity was something to be proud of!
I am thankful to Ms. Lyons, my first grade teacher who actually failed me! I know that may seem like someone I should not be thankful for, but we learn through failure as well as success. Everything I am not has made me everything that I am! While I did not understand why I was being failed as a six year old child, I have built on the idea that FAIL stands for first attempt in learning. I am thankful for Ms. Lyons because she taught me that every setback is an opportunity for a come up!
I am thankful for Mr. Dodge who always saw us for who we were. Mr. Dodge made learning fun and took an interest in our learning in an environment that told him that he should not care about us; that he should not be vested in our education. Mr. Dodge reminded us that we could be whoever we wanted to be!
I am thankful for Ms. Hamernick (Wray) who told me, “You should be a teacher!” It wasn’t until her exclamation in the 11th grade that it struck me that I could and should consider teaching as a profession. At the time, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, but knew that I had a love for people. Ms. Wray’s ability to see something in me that I did not see in myself, was something that I carried over with me when I became an educator.
I hope that this Thanksgiving, and every day, you will take time to reflect on the people and the things you are thankful for. It is easy to get distracted with the stories that are out there about education, but it is so important to pause and take time to reflect and think about our why.
Finally, I am thankful for everyone who has chosen to be a part of education – I am thankful for YOU!