The Blathering: What is a Teacher?

**Attention Teachers, there are grammar issues below** 🙂 

It’s a loaded and layered question!

What is a teacher? Your answer could win over lots of people or have the townsfolk at your gates with pitchforks and camera phones. This article is purely a collection of musings I has this morning on my way into the radio station. I had been thinking about my past and about my schooling. I was thinking specifically about my favorite teachers. Now, I know that being a teacher is not easy. I know that some parents expect teachers to raise their kids as opposed to only delivering the education they are contractually obligated to deliver. I went to a Catholic High School and graduated in 1991. This may only be 27 years ago, but it might as well be 57 or something. So much has changed with education that I am simply lost when my kids ask me for help. I can’t even add the way they are taught to add now. But that is a different conversation for someone’s smart blog and not this rag.

Where Are You Going With This, Fitz? Oh, nowhere as usual 😉

Do you remember your most favorite teachers and why they were your favorites? I guess that is implying that you had at least one, if not more than one – I had a few. During my reflective drive in today I recalled a few of my high school teachers who still bring a smile to my face. Maybe because they were funny, quirky or inspiring. Maybe because they were fair. Let’s think of that word F-A-I-R. defines it:                            adjectivefairer, fairest.

                                                                       1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice:

                                                                          a fair decision; a fair judge.
There is a rabbit hole here and it starts with the word bias. But, we know what’s living down that hole and it is angry and blood-thirsty and sleeping, so let’s leave him there. We can chat just outside the hole. My favorite teachers were FAIR – they gave us all the same chances – they gave us all a shot at greatness or enough rope to…well you know the saying. 

I remember one time when the kid who was generally thought of as a suck up and teacher’s pet was handed down the same punishment as the slacker football player (who I wrote jokes for) when he didn’t turn in an assignment. It didn’t matter that the kid was an honor student. It didn’t matter who his parents were or how much money or influence they had with the school. (It was a parochial school, so that often times played a major role in a student’s success). NOPE – he got the same as the rest of us.

Ben Stein’s depiction of an economics teacher in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ is way too accurate.
Similarly, I had a music teacher who was the same way. If we asked for help – we each had to earn it. If we tried hard, we got the help. Some of us had more talent than others, but we were treated the same. They both recognized that fire that exists within us when we encounter something that excites us. I had a teacher who recognized my interest in military history and put me in touch with a kid who was in the Civil Air Patrol – and I spent the next few years having a blast. That same music teacher saw that I had an interest in certain performances and recommended me for a saxophone quartet. I was not the best sax player in the band, but I had the heart and I progressed quickly. He saw that in me and encouraged me to go after it.
It didn’t matter which subject either. If I say the word “physics” to you, you may shutter and wince. I did on the first day of class. The guy was strict – boy oh boy. My all time favorite teacher and my favorite class of all time. AND I CANNOT MATH (nor can I grammar) – but he made it fun. He taught in a way that challenged us, that interested us – that lit a spark for a subject that very few of us really wanted to know anything about.
One of my favorite films, ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’ starring Richard Dreyfuss tells the story of a passionate and flawed music teacher who affected his students more than he knew.

All of this being said – I know there are teachers like this out there now. I see them – mostly in other schools and on the news or something. There is nothing worse than watching your child have a spark, but it goes out because his or her teacher would rather not do the work. No commitment. No courage. No reason to be a teacher. Now, I am not saying that I have seen this firsthand with one of my own kids – except that I am saying that. I am saying that exactly. If, one day in the future, there is an acceptance speech – this teacher will not be thanked – unless the term is “thanks for nothing.”

So, here is to all of you teachers who inspire and encourage and entertain. Thank you for your contribution to society. You make a difference. You make our world better and I love each and every one of you. 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s