My Mom The Teacher

3 Feb

My mother is a wonderful woman. In addition to being the world’s best mom, her occupation for over 30 years has been that of a school teacher. School teachers, for the most part, get a bum wrap. And, from time to time, I have been known to participate in the “Stop your whining because you get a whole lot of paid time off,” chatter, but to be quite honest – they deserve time off. And, they deserve better pay. And, most importantly, they deserve the same respect as doctors, nurses, police officers, etc.

Teachers are underappreciated in our society, and it’s such a shame. Other than our parents, teachers are the most influential and inspiring people we come into contact with as youngsters. They help shape who we are, and what we know. It’s a big job.

A big job that my mother has held for over 30 years – in both the private school and public school systems. She’s been at the public elementary school where she is now for more than 20 years, and she has taught first grade for almost all of those years. For those of you who don’t have a first grade teacher as a mother, first grade is a tough year for kids. It’s when they learn to read, among many other things. So, my mom has literally taught hundreds of children how to read. It takes perseverance, talent and prayer to do that.

My mother would never acknowledge that she is a gifted teacher, but she is. She has never applied for a “Teacher of the Year Award” (or any other awards) despite many attempts by others to nominate her. She wants no recognition for the work she has done, the children she has inspired, the passion that she has passed on. She is humble to a fault (in my opinion – we all know I’ll toot my horn every chance I get!), and for that reason she’ll never have a framed certificate from the Board of Education that says she was “the best” teacher in her school. What she will have, though, are the countless letters from parents who wanted to say “thank you” for being good at her job. She’ll have the pictures first graders drew for her that say, “I love you!” or “My favorite teacher!” She’ll have the “teacher appreciation” gifts given to her with pride by the kids at Christmas, or at the end of the school year. She’ll also have the many memories and funny stories of the not-so-well-behaved children…many of who turned out to be her “teacher’s pet” after all.

This week, my mom made the decision to retire at the end of this school year. With a new grandbaby to dote on, and afternoon naps to finally be taken, it should have been an easy decision for her to make, but it was not. I watched her go through anxiety, excitement and sadness while making her difficult decision. I know how much she will miss the school, her co-workers, the students (and yes, probably the bigger paycheck!) – and how much they will miss her, too. But, I’m excited for this new chapter in my mom’s life. She will have more time to do…whatever she wants to do! She’s given most of her life to teaching. It’s time for her to sit back, have a drink, pat herself on the back and say, “I did one hell of a job.”

I found this quote about teachers that couldn’t be more true: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William A. Ward

To 30+ years of inspiration. Not too shabby, Mama.

2 Responses to “My Mom The Teacher”

  1. Anonymous February 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Congrats to your mom!

  2. Charles Apple February 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm #


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