The timing on this is somewhat of a coincidence. I’ve been mulling these ideas, even the title of this post for a while now. I do that a lot. Sometimes the ramblings of my mind make it onto paper. Many times they do not. Even fewer get let out…
So yes, this remembrance day, I want to thank you for your service…
Mrs. Hancock – 1st grade teacher and lover of reading and gardening
Mr. Murray – 4th grade teacher – first time to have a male teacher but more importantly perhaps plant the seed that I needed to be stretched further than was likely in a small one class per year level rural school
Mrs. Summers – 5th grade teacher who challenged me to read classics and to speak in public
Brother Darryl – who in 6th and 7thgrades opened the door to drama
Mrs. Delaforce – who in 6th and 7thgrades opened the windows to singing
Ms. McLaughlin – who may have been a little crazy, but whose passion for English made it interesting again in senior years of high school, and also explored creativity through school musicals
Mr. Duffy – whose clarity and precision in math brought me close to perfection semester after semester
Mr. Kaplick – who got past an mind grounded in absolutes to enable me to grasp the more abstract concepts of physics
Mrs. O’Donnell – who freed me to discover music was about passion, not just precision (although a little precision never hurt)
Ms. Graham – who survived having me in senior chemistry and taught me to see the forest instead of the trees
Professor Vuckovich who managed not to give us lung cancer in his lectures or nicotine stained office, and while I cannot remember much of his petroleum engineering classes, will never forget his pearls of wisdom such as “You boys, you must remember this one thing. You will be mining engineers. You will marry nurses or school teachers – that is all”
And so I did, in fact, so many of our class did.
So yes – I may have a little bias here. Probably in interests of full disclosure, my mother was a teacher. My father also. One of my sisters still does. And but for a summer job that never ended during the mining slump of the mid 80s when I graduated with my mining engineering degree but no job prospects, I might have been. I didn’t go back to school to get my Dip. Ed. that next year…
I am not begrudging the honor shown our veterans or those in active service. Theirs is not an easy job. A good number of my close friends and family serve here too. Perhaps more so here in the USA, we hold these people in a special place, we feel it important to thank them for their service. But how often do we think to do the same for a teacher. Would they be worthy for example of being granted the comforts of an airport lounge while travelling. Or generous discounts on many goods and services. And I could go on – and to those whose business does acknowledge teachers and give them some sort of recognition, thank you!
I mean it is not like teachers are well paid. An officer (a degreed professional so similar in that respect to a teacher) in the US Army with regular promotions after the minimum time at each level makes close to three times what my wife makes some 20 or so years out of college. So to the past and present members of the armed services, indeed – thank you for your service. You most certainly earned and deserve what you have, and maybe more. Nothing can repay the ultimate sacrifice some have made – or the permanent scars both physical and mental that some live with as a sacrifice every day. So to be a teacher, while generally not putting yourself in harms way (far from a certainty in US schools sad to say), you are not doing it for the money - it is most definitely a gift of service.
So to those who taught us how to be anything we could be, to those who were both firm and patient, to those who inspired and cajoled, to those without whom my life would be one more ordinary…
From the depths of my heart, THANK YOU for your service