THE TEACHER EFFECT

Let’s take a trip together- traveling into your memory-mind’s eye. Do you see whose face appears when I ask who was your favorite teacher? Did you take it back to your kindergarten days with his/hers undoubtedly kind smile, or perhaps that one awesome basketball coach who pushed you harder than any other during sophomore year? Do you have him or her in your mind? Now hold on to the feeling- not the image of their face, but the feeling they left in your heart which you are revisiting now- The peace you received during that rough personal time, the laughter bubbling up because they had a killer sense of humor, or the immense pride you feel in yourself at this moment because you know your life could have turned sideways if they had not crossed your path at that exact moment they did. Welcome to the teacher effect.

I would argue that whether you were a total school-loving, high-performing nerd to the max (like myself) or the kid who couldn’t wait to bust through the doors of your school for the last time and never look back (like my husband)- No matter where you stand on the grading scale, there was that one teacher who you had and currently have this undeniable fondness for. For me, it was my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Greer. She was the eldest teacher I ever had, and my goodness gracious her strict disposition was palpable, but she had this effect on me throughout the remainder of my schooling days that set the tone for my drive toward achievement. I was drawn to her teaching style- her almost military-like standard of focus really hit a note for me and to this day I still sing her praises (obviously).

Let’s return. We’re here watching our children make their own relationships, evaluations and memories with teachers of their own. A greater sense of appreciation has hit us as we see from the parenting perspective how each teacher molds, uplifts and pushes them to greatness better than we can ourselves. This year alone, I never knew how monstrously impatient I could be until attempting (ahem, *failing*) to help my son learn to read. That is, until Mrs. Brown came along to take the reins with a calm confidence, followed with Mrs. Veldhuis coming in with the assist (like a perfectly timed “alley-oop”) in “Reading Intervention.” With months of frustration internally building and often times spilling over at my son’s expense, he came home from school one day, sat himself at the counter and began to read me a book as I prepped dinner. Slowly and all at once, my kindergartner was reading and I wasn’t sitting next to him painfully going through each. and. every. word with him. HALLELUJAH! Something clicked for him in that classroom, at the side of his teachers, that spurred a realization to greater achievement than I was able to. As a parent, welcome to the teacher effect.

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Being on the outside looking in to a life building within and around your children is one of the hardest realities of becoming a parent. But, man oh man, when I see the beauty through pain, the accomplishments through hardships, and the blessings through steadfastness, I experience that same calm confidence that Mrs. Brown had brought to the table. The stronghold of control in making sure my kids are okay easily slips away. I have the calm confidence in the molding of their minds and characters because of their teachers.

They are cared for.

They are loved.

They are heard.

They are stretched and challenged.

They are held to a higher standard.

They are becoming who they are in large part due to their teachers.

3 John 1:4

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in

the truth.”

Remember that teacher in your memory-mind’s eye? The good work he or she has done in your own life is the same good work your son or daughter’s teacher is doing right this very moment. The teacher effect is generational. I encourage you, do not hold back your tongue in thankfulness for those men and women who show up displaying God’s goodness in your kids’ lives. May the position of gratitude in your heart be expressed outwardly toward them today. If she were still alive today, I would track down Mrs. Greer and thank her for instilling a love of learning in my life, for giving me a king-size Snickers bar when I finally mastered my times tables and for keeping me in line when I was easily distracted by my crazy friends. Go thank a teacher today and let him or her know that their impact is tangible, life-bringing and ever so important.

Comment below who your favorite teachers were and share on Facebook!

Written by Erica Smith, ICS Mom

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