This morning I got caught up listening to a throwback tribute to MCA, the beloved and departed Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. That took me right back to 1988 – passing a worn tape between friends on the bus and sneaking a couple of minutes of “Fight for Your Right” in between classes, and (I'll admit) even recess dance-offs. So I was admittedly in a nostalgic mood when I read that Tucson's Mayor Johnathan Rothschild and others around the state have designated today Legendary Teacher Day.
We all owe a tremendous debt to our teachers for teaching us, inspiring us and molding us. Admittedly, I might not have gotten it as a student, but as I look back my appreciation and love for the teachers who brought me up is deep. As I see the teachers of my own children, their dedication, creativity and compassion is awesome. They could all use more resources and a raise, for sure, but today we can reflect, remember and say thanks...
My two favorite teachers taught at Struthers High School. My Biology II teacher, Mr. Russo, taught with such a wonderful way of including each of the students to always give their thoughts as to “why” things occurred the way they did. This way of teaching made us feel comfortable to state our thoughts. Mr. Simerlink, my geometry and trigonometry teacher, was a no nonsense teacher. He had a board where we all started at the bottom at the beginning of the week (with an “F” per se) and through our participation could achieve an “A” by weeks end and that would be entered into his grade book. I know I was a nerd for my love of science and math. Karen Kanna, Secretary
My favorite teacher was Mr. Draper, my high school Field Studies teacher. I'm not a huge fan of science, but I am a fan of nature and the outdoors. Mr Draper made science fun and engaging by combining the two. His field trips were unmatched, and some students signed up for his class just so they could go on them. Why I respected Mr. Draper the most, though, was that he treated us like adults. Matt Schmidt, Attorney
My sixth grade teacher was Mr. Hoffman. He was a retired military man. In the classroom, he was very rigid and treated us like soldiers. Everything had to be done in a uniform manner and at a certain time. However, he was an extremely kind man and took time from his personal life to do extracurricular activities with those of us who were under privileged. He would bring us hand me downs if he thought we needed them. On an occasional Saturday, he and his wife would take a group of us to Sabino Canyon, cook us breakfast and let us collect specimens for the aquarium in the classroom. He taught me that in life you have to work hard, give back and you will be rewarded. Irma Almazan, Paralegal
I have at least three favorite teachers that I can think of, one from each grade school, Elementary, Middle school and High School. All shared the same patience, encouragement and compassion for their students and teaching, taking extra time to help the students that needed a little more help but not making it very obvious, they also made learning fun for the students in their own way. I can still see their faces when I think of them. My brother in law is an elementary school teacher and he loves his job, he took a cut in pay when he finally became a teacher but loves that he made that decision. Elizabeth Holguin, Paralegal
Mr. Labonte was my senior year high school English teacher. He taught me to write simply and clearly, and he challenged me to think critically. I owe him a great debt. Jim Campbell, Attorney
As for me, I could rattle off a list of teachers from elementary school to law school who were legendary. But the story I will tell today comes from Mr. McBride, my high school history teacher and wrestling coach. His lesson was direct -- poise matters. Balance and composure, which is built on preparation and hard work, will always carry the day. I think of that, and him, before I do most things, especially most tough things.
Take a minute to reach-out to the teachers who shared so much of themselves with you to say thanks...and make sure to do the same for those who are doing it today. After all, don't we all believe that children are our future, and it's these men and women who are doing the hard work of teaching them well (h/t W. Houston).
I will leave you with two favorite short videos on the impact of teachers. The first is Taylor Mali powerfully breaking down What Teachers Make. While I do not love that a lawyer is his foil, it's inspiring and worth watching.