I was a fortunate child. I grew up in a home in which my parents both valued education and had the resources to ensure that my brother and I could succeed academically. There were always books in my house. We had two full sets of encyclopedias, both for children and adults, both my parents had leftover textbooks from their university days, and everyone had a library card.
I started reading at a young age, (4 years old) mostly due to my parent’s bedtime ritual of reading me a story before I went to sleep. In daycare, I could both read out loud and comprehend what the words meant. But the people who nurtured my lifelong love of reading the most were my teachers. I’ve already written about my 1st-grade teacher, Mrs. Kerr, who purchased a hard-to-get book for me at the end of the school year. But there was also Mr. Clyke, who taught me math by using hockey stats.
Going back to university two years ago has given me a greater appreciation for the teachers who helped me along the way. The junior high math teacher who helped me learn that, as a visual learner, geometry would be my strong-suit. The high school English teacher that made classics seem more interesting by making them relevant to the present; the University professor who made 4 hours of painting fun, and the African Canadian Studies teacher who taught me more about my heritage in a semester than I had learned in the four years prior.
Teachers do not often get the respect they deserve. They are often overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. Today, I’d like to let all the teachers in my life know that their work is not in vain. You have the daunting task of shaping young minds, and if you make a lasting impact on one child, you have done your job.
A teacher’s influence doesn’t stop at one child. That child grows up and goes on to affect others. And the people that they inspire will pass what they’ve learned along. That is worth celebrating.