The first week in May is known as Teacher Appreciation Week, with Tuesday, May 3, being set aside as National Teachers Day. The focus this week is on educators, a specific group of individuals, men and women, who are often taken for granted. They are grossly underpaid and noticeably underappreciated. This week we pay tribute to teachers and celebrate their invaluable contribution to our lives. I recall seeing a bumper sticker which read: “If you can read this thank a teacher.” Teachers provide an invaluable service on all levels of education.
Teacher Appreciation Week holds particular significance to the Central Ohio region for a couple of reasons: The first Kindergarten in America was established in Columbus. Click here to read a tribute to Kindergarten and Pre-school Teachers.
To learn more about a personal connection with Friedrich Froebel, the founder of the Kindergarten system of education, click here.
In addition, the first “junior high school” in America was built in 1909 in Columbus, Ohio. Indianola Middle School continues to be the oldest standing middle school in the nation. Not too long ago, we recognized this notable achievement during March, Middle School Month. Moreover, the National Middle School Association is located in Westerville, Ohio. To read a Tribute to Middle School Teachers, click here.
Throughout the course of my adventure of discovery of a significant facet of my true identity as a teacher, I have come to know many excellent teachers who consciously or unconsciously drew me into teaching, even when I had no idea that I would find myself there. For as long as I can recall, I have encountered scores of influential teachers, from grade school through graduate school and beyond. In looking back over more than 40 years as a teacher, I recognize more clearly their influence and pay tribute to some of those who have touched my life in powerful ways. Some of these teachers are no longer with us, but their legacies still impact me as I endeavor to impact those students whom I am privileged to teach.
William Vitek in an essay “Reflections on the Teaching Art” makes the following comment:
“I prefer to see teaching as an art and having many wonderful intangibles. To do so leaves open the possibility that what we do in the classroom works, even if we are not always certain why. It invites spontaneity and creativity. . . .”
To some extent I was inspired to write this article to express my gratitude to some of the notable masters of the teaching art. The title of a poetic tribute to educators is taken from a statement by Leslie Fiedler, noted literary critic, who commented that “The teacher’s task is to patiently explain.”
This poem seems an appropriate way to pay tribute to teachers on all levels of education, as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week 2011:
The Teacher’s Task
For all those called to teach
The smallest spark can kindle a desire,
Ignite a fire to stir and warm the heart,
And through the years the embers from that fire
Will glow with light inflamed from that same start.
In the dark of night should a doubt arise,
A question of the road less traveled by,
Recall that same glow in a student’s eyes
Shall dispel the chill of questioning why.
You who labored in the classroom have learned
That rapport with student, colleague and friend
Offers recompense beyond wages earned.
You who loved the teacher’s task we commend:
May joy warm your heart and sustain you yet,
With memories of success and no regret.
from Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance
Like this article?Subscribe to Columbus Spirituality Examiner and be informed of interesting articles on a variety subjects approached from a spiritual perspective. Please click on the link above this article that says “subscribe”. We will send an alert whenever a new article is published. Welcome to our site and our quest for spirituality and wisdom in a changing world. If you want instant notification, click on “RSS feed.”
Share this article! If you think someone would be interested in reading this article, click “email” above the article.
Please leave us a comment:
This site continues to unfold and we need your help — stories and news are developed from your comments, so please help us. Or, click here to email me if you don’t wish to leave a comment below.