My little 5 year old body was all a jitter as I was filled with both excitement and fear. Being the youngest, I had waited with great anticipation when my turn would finally come to get to go school. My brother had walked me to my kindergarten classroom and I was literally standing on the threshold of both the door and the beginning of the wonderful world of school. With a not so gentle shove my brother said, “Go on in!” And with that he was gone.
Now completely frozen in anxiety still standing on said threshold an angelic voice came out of nowhere, “Hi there! Give me your hand and I’ll help you find your desk.” My life was changed forever in that moment. I had heard my brothers talk about these folks they called ‘teachers’, but I really had no idea what to expect. First impression…these are people who cared about you!
I have drank deeply from the well of education since that transformative encounter with a teacher. I am still a student, I am still an teacher, I have served / chaired education boards, have educational institutions as clients, have parented two lads through decades of the education world, have spent countless hours volunteering in teachers’ classrooms. All these years later my initial appreciation has grown exponentially and is only matched by my admiration for teachers.
I have yet to meet a teacher who has shared with me their reason for teaching was to be rich and or famous. Rather, consistently I hear a deep calling, a vocation to help others learn and grow. Teaching is viewed as one of the most noble professions and when I’ve asked folks, “Tell me about one of your favorite teachers,” every person has a wonderful story about a teacher who changed their life.
For me, the teachers that have been the most influential were those who embodied a love of learning. They embraced a sense of wonder, creating a space where they, too, were learners. Or as I often say to groups I work with, “Let’s live in the Montessori model of, ‘All are teachers – All are learners’.” Benjamin Franklin is known to have said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” It is in that space of wonder that transformation takes root.
I am truly grateful all the teachers in my life. For instilling my desire to be a life long learner. Those who created an understanding that the most powerful education experience is revelatory; opening my eyes, my mind, my soul to a wider and deeper awareness of the world around me and my place in it.
“A pilgrim must be like a child who can approach everything with an attitude of wonder and awe and faith. Let’s pray for wonder. Let’s pray for awe. Let’s pray for desire, and ask God to take away our cynicism.”