I will forever love this photograph taken in my Mother’s freshman high school English Literature classroom in the late seventies (check out my teeth!). Mom — and Dad — were my very first teachers both in their professional and personal lives. I watched as they strived to recognize the assets in each student and bring out their very best (even when those students had no faith in themselves). They showed me how teaching could be one of the most meaningful contributions to the world. As a child, I pretend played teacher with my stuffed friends, acted in plays at school as a teacher, and envisioned what I would be iike someday when I could become a teacher. Since then, the teachers who have left a lasting impression are the ones who taught my heart and spirit to soar with curiosity, wisdom and compassion. I’m honored to now be a teacher and have learned that teachers, in order to fulfill their sacred role, must be consummate students. Teaching has become a whole family affair as I teach alongside my partner, Jason in homeschooling this year and we invite in guest teacher friends and family – yes, Mom and Dad are back teaching their grandson – with powerful lessons in the Ancient Maya, the arts, Shakespeare, writing poetry and more.
Because teachers are learners and change-makers, we are well-equipped for changing times, times of division and times of trial. We realize that the whole world is our classroom if only we observe, question and reflect with our students on the lessons to be learned from social, political and environmental challenges. We know that if we bring our whole heart and mind to our students — paying keen attention to their needs, their gifts, and which issues ignite their passions — we will become just the support they need to thrive not simply survive.
So to all the teachers who are making the world a better, kinder, more inclusive and just place, thank you!