I have been in school for a long time. I always tell my own children that mom never has left school. After college, I jumped right back into school and never moved on! And I feel so lucky to work with the amazing people in education. Teachers are truly a gift for a child. As I reflect this week on the National Teacher Appreciation Day, I think back on the teachers in my life.

Ms. Layman was my Kindergarten teacher. I won a prize for putting the most pumpkins on a page. She made me feel so special with those little celebrations. Ms. Pinky in first grade had the longest legs; and when she walked in her bell bottoms, I was amazed by her swiftness. Her curlie hair even jumped with the energy she gave in her teaching. Ms. Egleston in third grade was my favorite. She encouraged me to be creative and allowed me to explore and be unique. She supported me in my love of reading and encouraged it to flourish. She also taught me humanity as I remember her emotional response to tragic national events that year. Ms. Eubanks in fourth grade helped me through a tough time at home. She showed compassion and shared resiliency. Ms. Rogers in fifth grade, phew, she was my first tough teacher who held nothing back. I would achieve no matter what because she expected it! And finally Mr. Pierce, my first male teacher, showed me what fun can look like in school. He also let my creativity shine in writing everyday. AND he let us read under our desks…. imagine! I could go on and on. Ms. Smith, my high school biology teacher, who taught while standing on her lab table to truly make a point. My junior English teacher, Ms. Kinnard, who cried when we presented the death of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Yes, teachers truly make an impact. They truly make a difference in our lives. And I am so thankful that I continue to work with amazing teachers who teach me still. I appreciate their guidance, their advice, their advocacy for children and the sharing of dreams that they give to our students.

I have worked in schools from here to Africa, and one thing remains the same. Teachers truly do matter. And I want to thank them all for everything they give to other people’s children. Thank for the gift you give to our future by shaping lives.

I truly do encourage you to say it again to a teacher in your life that makes a difference, thank you!