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Monday, December 17, 2012

Teachers, Thank You.

Tales from the Teacher's Lounge

Like the rest of the country, I have been in a state of disbelief since hearing of the tragedy in Newtown, CT last Friday.  Rather than focus on the person responsible for the tragedy, I've found myself thinking about the children, the families, and most of all, the teachers.

To hear stories like this one about Victoria Soto (27 year old 5 year teacher that saved the lives of her first graders by hiding them in cupboards and lying to the gunman before being killed herself)
bring so many questions to mind:
Would I know what to do in this situation?
Would I be able to react quickly enough?
Could I possibly keep calm and care for my students?
Would I be brave enough to do whatever I could to save them?

And then even more questions come up:
How do you go back to work after this?
How does a school, a community bounce back?
How do you fill the empty void in everyone's hearts?
How can we honor those that deserve honor and not give attention to the demon responsible?

My heart goes out to Newtown, CT, the families, the school faculty, the country.
It's hard to understand why God would place children on this earth for such a short time, but I do know that the time they had here was important and they touched many lives in that time.
I picture Newtown a lot like the town I grew up in.  Small, close knit, supportive, and loving.

In honor of those amazing teachers, the principal, and the faculty that did their best to protect the students this horrific day, I've decided to thank the many wonderful teachers I've had in my life:

Mr. Cauley, my principal for the majority of my schooling.  Thank you for being loving yet strict, understanding yet firm, and for fostering a learning environment within our school walls.
Mrs. Gay, my first and third grade teacher.  Thank you for making learning fun and for giving us a sense of independence each morning during "morning work."  And, especially, thank you for the many hours you stayed long after 3:00.
Mrs. LaPine, my second grade teacher.  Thank you for teaching me cursive writing the proper way.  I realize now what an important tool that is.  Thank you for keeping our classroom orderly and setting strict guidelines.
Mrs. Boardman and Mrs. Belzile, my fourth grade teachers.  Thank you for challenging us by having us switch classes and for the bath tub we got to read in.
Ms. Blanchard, my fifth grade teacher.  Thank you for making learning so fun.  Thank you for encouraging us to step outside our comfort zones making videos, giving speeches, and standing up for ourselves.  And thank you for listening when I was being bullied.
Ms. Valachovic, my sixth grade teacher.  Thank you for preparing us for junior high. Thank you for making learning interactive with games, celebrations, and creative projects.  Thank you for introducing me to some fabulous literature that I now get excited about sharing with my own students.
Mr. Lopez, my 7th grade math teacher.  Thank you for teaching me how to learn math.  Before you, I struggled in math and your organization and notes taught me how I best learn it.
Mr. V, my high school math teacher.  Thank you for believing in me and knowing that I could do anything I put my mind to.  Thank you for supporting me in the classroom, in the real world, and on the field/court.  I always felt like you were personally invested in me and I'm sure other students did, too.
Mrs. Daly, my high school English teacher.  Thank you for encouraging my writing.  If not for you, I may not have this blog today.  Thank you for giving us all a voice and letting us be a part of the learning/planning process.  Thank you for introducing us to fabulous and controversial books and then fostering conversation about those books.
Mr. Ruff, my high school science teacher.  Thank you for putting up with me.  I made teaching hard on you and I understand now what that means.  Thank you for knowing that I was a "good kid" and not giving up on me.
Mr. St. Louis, Mrs. Lopez, and Mrs. Bronson, my PE teachers.  You always made PE fun and rewarding.  Not just that, you each supported me in my athletic aspirations.  I knew you expected my best on and off the field/court and your expectations motivated me to try harder.  To reach further to touch my toes, to run my mile faster, to keep my hands up on D, to run through my burning legs...  Thank you for believing in me.
Mr. Ford, my guidance counselor.  Thank you for being you.  You were always so thoughtful and fun and supportive and knowledgeable.  I see what other highschool guidance counselors are doing for their students now and I realize just how lucky I was to have you.  Thank you for sharing your dream of publishing a book and succeeding at it.  Thank you for the countless applications, college texts, and counseling sessions you provided me and Jessy-poo.
Mr. Williams, my music teacher.  Thank you for being honest and letting me know that I'm not the world's best singer, but encouraging my love of instruments.  Thank you for encouraging me to continue playing clarinet even when it wasn't easy, I wasn't good, and I felt like giving up.
Mrs. Moore, my band teacher.  Thank you for sticking with me; I know I didn't make it easy.
Holly French and My Mom, our class advisors.  Thank you so much for your time, dedication, and desire to help our class not only succeed, but to celebrate success.  The hours you spent fund raising, organizing, and away from your families are not forgotten.  You are both loved.

I was so blessed to have incredible teachers in my life.  I pray that some day my students will think back and add me to their list of influential people that made a difference in their own life.  These people helped shape me into the person I am today and for their long hours, little pay, stressful and under-appreciated positions, and dedicated hearts, I am grateful.



  1. I've had so many wonderful teachers as well. It really is hard to know how you would react in this situation....so grateful for all the brave teachers this past weekend.

  2. Oh this is beautiful......... I've cried my eyes about ten times over the past 3 days over this..... Now more than ever I am especially thankful that my angel is sitting right in front of me being as crazy as ever.
    Brooke @ what2wear


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