We apologize for the slight hiatus we have been on with our blog; the usual school and family related responsibilities have gotten the best of us. But...we thought this was the perfect week to jump back in - Teacher Appreciation Week! We may be a little biased, but teachers are the true superheroes of our world! So right off the bat, we want to say THANK YOU to all the educators making a lasting impact in the lives of the students they serve each day!
While we were both blessed to have many amazing teachers throughout our own educational journeys, we can each recall stand-out teachers who went above and beyond to inspire us. Different teachers connect with students in different ways. As we discussed the impact of some of our favorite teachers, we noticed several common themes.
Great Teachers Motivate
I (David) am grateful for the way my fifth grade teacher, Miss Cellucci, showed me that learning can be fun and that with hard work, anything can happen. I struggled to focus in school, wanting to mainly fit in and have fun rather than study and do my best. She knew how to reach me on my level and motivated me to want to try harder. She motivated me to become an educator who really cares for each student and works tirelessly to make my classroom an environment where kids can find success, no matter their background.
Great Teachers Inspire With Their Content
I (Steven) first fell in love with books in first grade, thanks to my teacher Mrs. Stocker. That passion that she helped instill in a young six-year old still burns deeply within me today and drives so much of my work as an educator. In middle school, Mrs. Mohr helped me develop as a writer. She pushed me; I can still remember assignments we did in her class and the feedback she gave that helped me hone my skills - valuable skills that I use every single day. In college, Dr. Gorrow was my classroom management professor. Through her modeling, I learned the value of fostering a classroom community and how to build positive discipline. Her passion for the course content shaped me, stayed with me, and has again impacted the work I do on a daily basis. Even now, she has served as a resource and mentor as I have begun teaching classroom management at the university level.
Great Teachers Challenge
In college, my (David’s) trumpet professor, Dr. Stowman, showed me that I mattered. He took me under his wing and mentored me through thick and thin. He was a father figure who showed me that hard work pays off. He instilled in me that if you work hard at anything, no matter the task, the outcome will be great. He also showed me that having a growth mindset, where you take both the good and the bad from all experiences, is the difference between someone who is successful and someone who just longs to be successful. I am forever appreciative of his expertise and guidance in trumpet, music, life, and education!
In my (Steven’s) doctoral studies, my advisor Dr. Curtiss, pushed me harder than I knew was possible. We now joke about it, but there were nights after her classes when I drove home in tears (quite literally) because I was certain I was in far over my head. Through her guidance, patience, and direct feedback I learned new levels of grit and perseverance, and grew far beyond what I ever imagined. I am now eternally grateful for her high expectations!
Great Teachers Focus on Relationships!
We say it all the time, but we truly believe that relationships are the cornerstone of effective teaching. Another of my (David’s) college professors, Dr. Cornacchio (or as I have always called her, The Good Doctor) continues to go above and beyond to help, educate, and guide me not only in my professional life but my personal life as well. She took me under her wing and has continued to guide me through my professional career with awesome concert programing ideas, instructional techniques, and inspirational conversations when needed. Personally, she was there through some “rough” transitions and experiences in college and helped guide me in a way that a true mentor does. When I was thinking about proposing to my wife, she was one of my first phone calls to talk about it! The Good Doctor has taught me that developing meaningful relationships will help students grow far beyond just delivering good content.
As you’ve read our blog, our hope is two-fold. First, we hope that this has caused you to pause and reflect on the special teachers in your life, and that you will make time and find a way to contact them this week to say THANK YOU! Second, for those of you who are teachers, we hope you are encouraged to continue in the hard work you do each day. We’re certain that YOU are making the same kind of impact as these special teachers we have described.
And...don’t worry! We are still working on finishing our interviews and will begin our Family Blog Series (as promised) soon!