Like a rock tossed into the water

by | Aug 2022

SURROUNDED BY a sea of classmates, a student filled with potential may feel invisible or wish he could disappear. Another student’s highest aim might be to coast through school until graduation. One young person might be filled with dreams and desires but fail to connect with the lesson format, perhaps due to a learning challenge. And yet another might have a challenging home environment and little to no support, focusing more on survival than pursuing a dream career path.

An encounter with the right educator can change a life forever.

The invisible student begins to see himself as holding value and potential. The coasting student begins to pedal steadily toward her best grades and makes plans for continuing education beyond her high school diploma. The one with dying dreams and desires connects with resources that make learning not just more accessible, but fun and rewarding. The unsupported young person finds family and is given the essential support to raise his quality of life and enable him to be fully present in his classes and his future.

Teachers do so much more than teach – they change lives!

Great teachers inspire a passion for learning that lives far beyond the classroom. They raise the bar for expectations for our performance, and they hold us accountable. They sharpen our character. They show us they are looking deeper into our hearts and minds and give us a sense of being seen and understood.

The impact and influence of our teachers carve a trajectory that ripples into the community and the world. They inspire confidence. Their encouragement enables us to go to a higher level than we realized existed. Their faithfulness and presence in our lives spark remembrance for years and years to come. Their compassion teaches us to look closer at the heart of one that appears different or a bit rough at first glance.

Teachers shape and fuel those who change our lives, work, and communities. Their students go on to be tomorrow’s leaders, problem-solvers, communicators, employees, and administrators. They will be parents, spouses, and significant others. They will be innovators and inventors. They will be guardians and gatekeepers. They will be our law enforcement, first responders, doctors, and medical professionals.

The infusion of confidence into a student empowers thinking that casts a large net of care and concern over the community. The student may become a board member of a local charitable organization. Another might become an elected official rallying for change in laws that promote justice and service to the people.

Encouragement fuels one more class, one more diploma, and one more run at a goal or dream. From here, will come researchers that develop new drugs or treatments for life-threatening diseases. Inventors will create time-saving products and tools. Their students’ books and articles will inspire and encourage us and take us to places we’ve never been.

And along the way to these achievements, their life’s educators are literally and figuratively cheering them on, reminding them they can do it. The foundation laid in the levels of their education whispers faith to them in the moments they are ready to quit.

A student, once homeless and provided food and clothing by a teacher, might create a worldwide organization offering housing and assistance to those without a home. Another student that benefited from a teacher’s listening ear might provide counseling services to the underprivileged and underserved. One more might assist our nation’s veterans transitioning back into the workforce, inspired by a teacher dedicated to passing on appreciation and respect for our military.

Teachers impact lives, both inside and outside the classroom. They change the world.

Think of the teacher that most influenced your life. Hopefully, you struggled to name just one. If possible, reach out and thank them or let their family know your life was better because of their loved one.

Then pay it forward. Contribute to area scholarship funds or a teacher’s classroom. Every donation adds up and continues to feed the dreams and desires of students that their teachers have nurtured. Volunteer to mentor through programs that assist graduating seniors as they enter college. Contribute to backpack programs that feed kids over the weekends. Call the school district and ask where you can help change lives.

Thank you, teachers, for your investment in our futures! We are all better because of you. GN

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