In Praise of Teachers: May 7 - Teacher's Day

Almost all of us remember a special teacher who taught us something we have carried throughout our lives. In honor of them, spend just a few minutes thinking about the extraordinary contribution teachers make.

Most professions have their defining characteristics, which attract people for various reasons, and most have a mold into which they easily fit. Some professions draw public attention like a warm watermelon draws flies. Other professions are obsessed purely with profits. But teaching is one profession that doesn't fit so readily into any mold. It offers a rainbow of experiences that attracts a varied and diverse group of individuals. But there are some things that most teachers do share. They are too often under-paid, under-appreciated and rarely recognized. That's an unfortunate reality when you consider the incredible power a teacher can bring to a child's life. These dedicated professionals shape minds, stretch imaginations, challenge thinking and mold character. Teachers help build the legacy that will lead our nation into the future.

But never before have the challenges a teacher faces been greater. In the 1940's, a survey listed the top seven discipline problems in public schools: talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of line, wearing improper clothes and not putting paper in the wastebaskets. However, a more recent survey lists these top seven as today's problems: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery and assault. Teachers need all of the support we can offer.

So as we celebrate Teacher's Day on May 7, think about the instructors who impacted your life -- the teacher who inspired you into a position of leadership, the teacher who dared you to be a pilot, or the teacher who directed you to be a computer programmer. Remember the teacher who tapped into your musical talent; the teacher who planted the seed for your business, medical, or legal career; and the teacher who gave you the confidence to excel in sports, and to deal with the difficult problems and challenging people you were sure to encounter.

To the thousands of good teachers across our nation, hats off to you. Yours is a high calling. Please don't stop. Never give up. If ever we needed you, we need you now.

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