I’m just going to say it up front: I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be a teacher. Not only do I not have the knowledge base, but, perhaps, most importantly, I don’t have the patience. I think teachers are one of our most valuable resources. It truly is the noblest of professions.
I started pondering this more deeply the other night as I rotated through my daughter’s high school schedule for meet-the-teacher night. It wasn’t so much what they said, but how they said it.
There was a common theme: “I am not here to help your children memorize facts or get an ‘A.’ I am here to help them learn to think for themselves, to think outside the box, to challenge ideas, to take risks in learning,” they said. These are things I would love to teach my children. I try to do so, I really do. But I have a hunch a teacher might have a better chance of getting through to them than a parent when it comes to these ideals.
I still remember the teachers that shaped me. I don’t remember a lot of facts about what they taught me, but I do remember how it felt to have a teacher believe in me, believe that I had potential to do and be just about anything I could imagine. That foundation allowed me not only to succeed academically, but to succeed in life because I believed I could overcome obstacles and handle just about anything that was thrown at me.
On meet-the-teacher night one of my daughter’s teachers gave us a handout containing quotes. The one that stood out for me was this one from Franklin Roosevelt: “Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something.”
So, to all of the teachers who encouraged me to “try,” like Anthony Ridgway who told me in high school that I already was a writer, and to Deborah Pope in college who told me to go out into the world and be a writer, a million thanks.
And to all of the teachers who are now doing the same for my daughters, bless you for you are molding young minds in a profoundly important way. We may not always tell you, but parents could not do what we do without your help. It truly does take a village to raise children, and a big part of that village are the men and women who stand in front of classrooms across America every single day, sharing the spirit of learning.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.