Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Each one teach one.

I expect that each of us has at least one teacher who made a positive impact on our lives. I fondly remember learning from Bruce, Mrs. Brooks, Mr. Watson, Mrs. Steadman, and Miss Holmes, to name just a few. And though I didn't know her, I am grateful to my grandmother, Willie Beatrice Jones Neal, who was also teacher (and taught my dad in the classroom and at home.)

Today is National Teacher Day, "a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives." As a former Arkansas teacher myself and as the beneficiary of the work of numerous Arkansas teachers (including my mother and grandmother), I am pleased to note that the first work to initiate National Teacher Day was done by an Arkansas teacher in 1944.

On this day, take the time to thank a teacher who helped you. Maybe she taught a class, maybe he was a mentor, maybe she taught you a life lesson. None of us makes it alone; someone taught us what we know and, in addition to being grateful, we have a responsibility to teach those around us. Consider these ways you can do this:

* Model the behavior you expect from others. As Mahatma Ghandi said "Be the change you want to see in the world." We can all do this.

* Share what you know. We all are blessed with talents. Identify yours and teach someone else.

* Remember that we're all lifelong learners (or we should be). Perhaps you can teach an adult to read or be a mentor.

To all the teachers out there, I salute you! Thank you for the good and valuable work you do!


Karama said...

This from African-American Life in the Arkansas Delta through the lens of Rogerline Johnson (1952-1971), UAPB Printing Service:

"Mattie May Whyte Woodridge, Principal, North End Elementary School (1955). Mrs. Woodridge (1909-1999) founded National Teacher Day. In the course of establishing this national event, she corresponded with Eleanor Rossevelt."

The previous statement appeared above a picture of Mrs. Woodridge in her office. I take pride not only in the fact that she is from Arkansas but also in the fact that she is black. Thanks Mrs. Woodridge!

Karama said...

And if you get the booklet, be sure to check out the picture of my Uncle, Prentiss Neal, organizer of the Marianna Economic Boycott of 1971-1972.

Karama said...

Here's a NYTimes article (for purchase) on the Marianna Economic Boycott. Widespread Racial Violence Persists in Eastern Arkansas Farming Area

Karama said...

And my mother, Janet Cobb, was an Arkansas teacher too!