The Power of a Great Teacher
Perhaps me writing about the power of a great teacher may seem disingenuous. I am after all, a teacher. But today I am taking off my teacher-hat and looking at this from the outside. I am in my author-hat, and last week I had another school author visit. The last of this school year.
I absolutely adore school author visits and use my personal days off from my real-job, to visit schools and classrooms, and talk with students about reading, writing, and history. I schedule 6-10 school visits per year, and have been doing so since my first book was published almost 15 years ago. That adds up to a lot of school visit.
These visits are as varied as they are fun. I have visited individual classrooms with only 18 or 20 students; I have spoken to auditoriums filled with hundreds of students. I have been part of Family Literacy Events in the evenings where I chat with both students and their parents; and I have been one of many authors serving on panels or presenting workshops. While most are in-person, I have also connected virtually with students and teachers to talk about the research and writing process.
I can tell you, based on my unscientific, but vast experience, that today’s young people are pretty darn awesome! Regardless of what you may hear about the character or intelligence of this generation not living up to those of the past, I am here to say that that is not what I see. I see students that give me hope and inspiration. They are curious and inquisitive. They are passionate and insightful. They are caring and empathetic.
And I know without a doubt, that their teachers are nurturing those traits.
What all of these kiddos have in common, is a passionate teacher! A teacher who is excited to be with them. One who is as curious and enthusiastic as they are about making discoveries, asking questions, and helping them make connections. Teachers who are committed to meeting every student where they are, and helping them to grow. Teachers who see the challenges and barriers that so many of these students face, and work tirelessly to give them the tools to manage these obstacles. Teachers who acknowledge and support the contributions that each student brings to the community of learners that is a classroom.
So as this school year wraps up, please take a few minutes to give a heartfelt thank you to any of the teachers that you know. They truly are doing the hard work of creating the future.