Slice of Life Tuesday: The Acknowledgement Section

This post is part of the weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!

Today is the day, in our district, where we tweet thanks or acknowledgements to other teachers and colleagues in our lives.

Friends, it would be a VERY long Twitter thread for me to go into all of the many reasons I adore and admire the amazing folks I work with. My hope is that I am forthright with praise and support every day of the year, and that the people I work with know EXACTLY why I’m a card-carrying member of their fan club. And if not, it’s time for me to get on it.

Instead, I’m going to do a very Lainie thing and come at it from a different direction. For better or worse, there are all kinds of teachers in my life who have shaped me in one way or another. All of these individuals have bestowed me with gifts of one kind or another. As for those on my list for whom the gratitude seems backhanded, please know that I’m not aiming for negativity, just searching for the blessing within the experience. It has all built who I am.

Mrs. Williams. Thank you for being the first person who made me see and understand, at age six, that it was okay for us to talk about the differences between us as people.

Mrs. Newport. Thank you for helping me understand what unconditional love from a teacher felt like, and thank you for giving me hard stuff to do to wear out my brain.

Mr. Schlamb. Thank you for opening my eyes to the wonder that is metaphor. Thank you for teaching me all of the bones and systems of the human body, which I still remember to this day. Thank you for getting me, my quirks, my humor, for seeing who I was and what I could do.

Mr. Stifel. Thank you for exposing me to the wild, wonderful world of storytelling. I knew when I first saw you and others tell on stage, I wanted to do THAT when I grew up. And I am.

Ms. Magdalin. Thank you for teaching me how to diagram sentences. I mean it. It blew my mind to see and understand that language could work on a systemic level.

Ms. Stelmach. Thank you for shaking me out of my fog of underachievement, for (in so many words) telling me you liked me too much to let me keep on the self-sabotaging path I had chosen, for awakening the writer and poet within me.

Mr. Nienhaus. Thank you for opening my eyes to theorems and postulates and proofs. Just to know that mathematics was a series of knowledge built block by block gave me the understanding and footing to recognize how much I love the world of numbers and math. Also…thanks for not embarrassing me when you caught me counting all the holes in the acoustical tile, or timing the circulation of the ceiling fan. You did me a solid there.

Ms. Cannon. Thank you for the precision you demanded of my writing. It’s shaped my craft and voice, even to this very day. Thank you for your sheer exuberance over the English language. You taught me that it’s possible to bring a childlike joy to learning all our whole live-long days.

Professor Shapiro. Thank you for your dismissal of my responses in class, for the terse comments at the margins of my paper. I carry this feeling with me whenever I consider the pride and dignity of each student in my care.

Professor Baroody. Thank you for being as wild, as wacky, and as goofy and geeky as I was about mathematics. Thank you for affirming how foundational math and math instruction could be.

Ms. McCabe. Thank you for showing me how much there is to learn about a teacher from the physical space of their classroom. Thank you for showing me what a lifetime dedication to the craft of teaching looks like. Thank you for showing me that we can grow as teachers throughout the long decades of our careers.

Ms. Cromwell. Thank you for calling into question my commitment to teaching. Overcoming that doubt has fueled me for twenty-six years, and continues to instill me with the importance of what I do each and every day.

Mrs. McDonald. Thank you for being the type of leader who brings out the best in all of us. Everyone who worked in your school gave you everything they had. Not because you demanded it, but because you made us not want to settle for anything less.

Ohhhh, there are so very many more I could write. We are all an amalgam, a quilt-work of those we’ve encountered over the years.

For that, I’m grateful.

And, if you’re up for it, drop a comment with which educators YOU might be grateful for.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The Acknowledgement Section

  1. What a wonderful “Thank you” to those who help shape you. I truly believe that everyone we come in contact with teaches us something if we are open to it. I am thankful for Sister reginal Alma who taught me that being super strict in chemistry class wasn’t a way of making life miserable, but a way of showing concern for our welfare because of all that could go wrong when handling chemicals. Discipline = caring.

    1. Thank you! And…strict teachers. We may not always appreciate it, but there is love and protection in those boundaries, a kind of emotional swaddling that helps us know where we are. As you say, discipline IS caring. Even if everyone involved hates it in the moment…

    1. Thanks! What started as kind of a cop-out (not wanting to leave any current colleagues out and hurt their feelings) wound up as a post that I enjoyed writing. Funny how that works…

  2. We are, indeed, an amalgam of our influences and experiences along with the stuff we bring to the table ourselves. Thank you for sharing some of those who helped you become you. As coincidence would have it, I was also influenced by a McCabe, though a Mr. in my case. He was, of all things, a music teacher and orchestra conductor. He showed me how to give of myself (I found out later in life that my 9-year-old-beginner self was introduced to the cello on his personal instrument that was valued at many times his annual salary). I don’t always live up to his example, but I’m trying.

    1. Thanks for sharing that story with me, Tim. It makes my day that my post brought you some fond memories of *your* Mr. McCabe. And who knows? In all likelihood, there are human people on this planet who don’t always live up to YOUR example, but they sure do try. =))

  3. I am reminded of a line from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” that a person’s life touches many others. More deeply than we ever know. Our stories are woven together, inextricably…”amalgam,” such a great word for it. Let me sing your district’s praises for encouraging these tweets and collegiality. Being appreciated – valued – it’s vital. Expressing appreciation is also vital… yes, that’s gratitude, and I believe it’s right up there with love and forgiveness as the most powerful transformational forces in the universe. I am imagining how your colleagues will treasure your words. I know I always do. ❤

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