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The Impact of a Teacher

About two weeks ago as I walked down the halls of my school, a colleague standing in the doorway of his class said to me, “This is when I am jealous of Karen. She was always able to sit and have full conversations with her students in Spanish.” He went on to explain how it always amazed him. As I walked away it struck me how it must be over twenty years since that teacher saw Karey in a classroom and what she was able to do still has an impact on him today.

This is the impact of a teacher.

In my twenty years as a teacher I have been fortunate to work with and learn from many amazing educators; however, Karey was my first mentor. I first saw her ability to form relationships with kids and hold their attention through activities as a camp counselor. When I was in college, I would visit her classroom from time to time. She had a natural ability to build positive relationships with her students and create a classroom environment that both challenged and supported her students. When I began teaching, I would often pick her brain for ideas for lessons or strategies to use in my classroom. To this day, I still have boxes in my basement of materials she handed down to me. While I’ve moved out of the classroom and into a role as an administrator where I no longer need them, I take comfort in having something tangible to remind me of the mark she has left on me.

This is the impact of a teacher.

When she stepped away from teaching to stay at home and raise her four boys, Karey still drew from her “teacher side” with the creation of a chore chart, displaying the boys’ artwork in the kitchen, and decorating bedroom doors with notes of encouragement or for their birthdays. Through her work on the PTO, Karey continued to support the teachers and staff in the schools her boys attended. I remember on February 4, 2018 when Karey was admitted to the hospital and the Eagles were playing in the Super Bowl. The teachers from the boys’ elementary school pulled together at the last minute to throw a Super Bowl party for Dave and the boys.

This is the impact of a teacher.

I think of Karey often, but I find myself thinking of her more every May. This month is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and May 1- May 7 is Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s a week to honor and appreciate the hard work and dedication of teachers. I find myself reflecting more on the influence Karey still holds on me and what thoughts she would have as a former educator and mother. I think she would want teachers to know that even on the most challenging days, they are making a difference. That what they do has an impact on each student, so do your best to make it a positive one. She would want students to know that their teachers start each day leaving their own personal burdens, stressors, or responsibilities at the door so they can help their students achieve. She would want parents to know that teachers want nothing more than for their child to succeed. She would want all of us to know that time is precious, and it is up to us to make a lasting impact on those around us.

This is the impact of a teacher.

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