Thursday, December 9, 2021
Dec. 9, 2021

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Check It Out: Here’s to invaluable teachers

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Life has taught me many things —and so have teachers. Good teachers are invaluable to our students, and I want to pay tribute to them in this column.

I tried my hand at teaching once upon a time. While working on my master’s degree in English in the early 1990s, I signed up to become a teaching assistant. What did this entail? Teaching five semesters of English 101 to freshmen. The experience is one I’ll never forget, and despite the difficulties of entering a classroom with very little preparation (teaching assistants, TAs as we were called, received a few days of orientation to the curriculum and then we were basically on our own), I’m glad I did it.

If nothing else, my appreciation for the art of teaching grew exponentially. It’s hard stuff.

To all teachers, past and present, here’s to everything you have done to help turn little humans into strong, informed citizens. The job is an important one, not meant for everyone (trust me, I know!), but tremendously rewarding for many. How you manage to deal with 21st century challenges — social media, digital equity, and, oh yeah, a pandemic — well, I’m very impressed and grateful.

Perhaps Fred Rogers said it best: “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” Thank you, teachers/heroes, you’re awesome!

  • “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students” by Zaretta Hammond.
  • “Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches” by Gerry Brooks.
  • “Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West” by Dorothy Wickenden.
  • “The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons” by David Menasche.
  • “The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession” by Dana Goldstein.
  • “Teaching When the World is on Fire” edited by Lisa Delpit.
  • “Why Did I Get a B?: And Other Mysteries We’re Discussing in the Faculty Lounge” by Shannon Reed.
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