It’s been four decades since I graduated high school. Those days of gym class, spelling tests, pizza day at lunch, baseball practice, reading “The Outsiders” and “The Red Badge of Courage,” term papers and school dances remain, mostly, fond memories.
That’s why when my boss John Rung, president and CEO of Shaw Media, suggested today’s Thank You, Teachers project, I was excited.
Looking back all those years ago, I remember certain classrooms, where I sat, making sure my pencil was sharpened just right, and, most of all, the teachers. I tried an exercise of recalling each teacher in my mind as I moved from grade to grade up to high school. I might not have remembered each teacher’s name, but I could recall their smile.
I thought about Miss Golden, my fifth grade teacher at John Mills School in Elmwood Park, who over the years had my brother, sister and me in her class, and with whom, through my mom, we stayed in touch.
Then there was Coach Englert, who supplemented his gym teacher salary by selling life insurance to graduating seniors, “because it would be a lifetime investment.” And how could I forget Mrs. Kalowitz, the English teacher who taught me a key lesson about deciding what’s most important when it comes to responsibilities?
I guess you never leave school when it comes to a lifetime of learning, and its impact on you and your family. I consider fourth grade teacher Mrs. Durgin, who recognized a problem one of my sons had with reading that other teachers had missed. Her intervention helped him develop study habits that changed his life and led him to become a two-time American Collegiate Hockey Association Academic All-American. My wife still sings her praises.
Teachers always will have a profound impact on our lives. Thank goodness. They have skills and knowledge that could transfer to other careers that could lead to more recognition and money, but they made the commitment to serve, educate and prepare our children for the future.
Yes, thank you, teachers.
And while I’m at it, let’s also thank all the other people in our schools who make a difference every day. The long list includes the lunch room workers, custodians, school bus drivers, teachers aides and assistants, coaches, school nurses, tutors, counselors, school psychologists, librarians, student teachers and interns, substitute teachers, office and athletic department secretaries, after-school assistants, paraprofessionals, principals and other administrators and the multitude of volunteers who help in all kinds of ways. Thank all of you as well.
Our team at Shaw had a lot of fun creating our Thank You, Teachers edition today. Many of the stories you see were suggested by our readers and people in your local schools. And we also received hundreds of letters from children telling us about their favorite teacher. Please take a look at them, there’s a lot of love and admiration happening there.
So, enjoy this special edition, it’s a keepsake.
• Dennis Anderson is vice president of news and content development for Shaw Local News Network. His email is email@example.com.