I spent time on my porch thinking about the good teachers who helped my daughter thrive.
Another school year started this week, right after a relaxed three-day Labor Day weekend. But my three-days were more special than most, because I spent the time with my thirty-something daughter. As I thought about beginning the school year my mind kept wandering back to the years the two of us started school together, she as a student and me as a teacher.
I listened to my daughter, now a physician, talk about her work and her life, marveling at her competence, eagerness to learn, empathy, discipline, and, yes, her sense of fun. More than once during our conversations I thought about the teachers who helped her develop and strengthen these skills, people who took her interests into consideration — as well as the required topics.
A preschool teacher encouraged my daughter to get up and keep going after a fall or a spat, and her kindergarten teacher recognized her love of books but also reminded her to relax and play. In second grade her teacher came to the rescue when my daughter wanted to bring a book to read at recess, and this same gifted educator suggested that she “become an author” and write her own books.
Once a week in second grade each child was encouraged think of a hard word and learn how to spell it. Boy was my husband surprised one day, as he worked on his public health policy dissertation, when our daughter, age seven, came up to his desk and happily spelled epidemiology. She told him that she liked the way the word looked when she saw it on his pages and asked to know more about what it meant. I just know that teacher suggested that she ask her dad for more information. Continue reading