In Appreciation of Inspirational Teachers

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This week has been “Teacher Appreciation Day”. I have been reflecting on the best teachers I have had, the ones who encouraged and inspired me, pushed me and motivated me…

I was fortunate to have a kindergarten teacher who became a family friend and she had an impact on my life, many years after I had mastered the alphabet.

My art teacher for Art I & II (7th and 8th grade) was awesome! She had my older sister as a student (who draws beautifully) before me; she let me develop my own artistic talents (I cannot draw, but I have a knack for sculpture). I had another great art teacher for AP Art my sophomore and senior years. She too had had my sister in class and again, encouraged me to hone my craft in the three dimensional arts arena (despite the fact she was the teacher for drawing/painting). The way my art pieces tend to work is that I come up with a (really cool) idea, and then have to problem solve to figure out the physics (how to make the piece stay together, balance, stand, etc.). Just when I would get frustrated and want to give up, she liked quoting Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”

At university I was very lucky, in that my first class at Texas A&M University was with one of the coolest professors ever. The class was RPTS 202, and it was one of my favorite classes during my four years at university. He really challenged us in that class, but he was very personable, funny and wise: “Life is an accumulation of happiness.”

My other favorite class was an extremely short but very fun (and educational) “Maymester”. I was lucky to be in the inaugural class which I think had a special bond. It was only two weeks and was packed with field trips across South Texas. The professor really made this course so interesting. He had great experience in the Tourism industry. He really cared about each of the students in that class and would do anything he could to help us. Because of this professor this class has been held every May since 2010 and has had a waiting list that included some of the university’s top football players. I will always remember this amazing professor, all of the help he has given me (recommendation letters and serving as a reference) and this mantra, “Give more than you get.”

My two (all time) favorite teachers have never given me grades (that I know of) but they have taught me a lot. My mother teaches gifted students and always has great lessons for her classes that I wish my teachers had had for me and my peers. My sister currently teaches high school art and English at a junior college. She always connects with her students and makes learning fun. Both of these women have taught me so much, like: it is ok to be “weird”, trust your gut, know you worth and know when to walk away, dream big, and don’t settle.

I think we should appreciate teachers every day, not just for one day or one week. Thank you to all of the teachers out there. You are priceless. You are appreciated. You make a difference.

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