Home Columns

Wahl to Wall: If you can read this, thank a teacher

Wahl is editor of the Chieftain.

Published on May 9, 2018 9:41AM

This time of year, many educators begin wondering if the year will ever be over. Spring fever can impact teachers as well as students.

Maybe that’s why the powers that be chose this week to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week. Yesterday was National Teacher Day.

Having been married to an educator the past 29 years, I am aware of the challenges the classroom brings. I also have a sister, brother and brother-in-law who are retired from teaching careers, as well as several dozen cousin, aunts, uncles and others involved in the field.

My original aspiration was to be a high school English teacher. When I realized a life of sitting in a classroom all day might not fit my personality, journalism became a more suitable option.

In their own way, journalists are teachers, too.

I grew up in a small rural school in the middle of North Dakota. Several of my teachers had my brothers and sisters before me.

I heard “you’re not much like your sisters” most of my 12 years of school. I thought that was a goal to be achieved; my teachers thought otherwise.

While our small district didn’t always attract the creme de la creme, we were fortunate to have had educators who taught us how to learn. That has served me well to this day.

Teaching has changed over the years, but at the heart of the endeavor is the quest to instill a love for learning in students. I see that in many classrooms I have visited in Wallowa County.

Technology has changed education as it has every other industry out there. High-tech when I was in elementary school was yellow chalk instead of white.

Today the sky’s the limit. The number of elementary-age students producing their own videos is impressive. I have received email communications from nine-year-olds that were created in Word documents.

I don’t believe the job has ever been what anyone would consider easy. Herding a group of youngsters or teens through a day of learning comes with its own set of unique challenges.

Almost every teacher has that one student they secretly hope comes down with a particularly bad bug and misses a week. That was me for a number of my teachers, I am sure.

And all of us have teachers who influenced our lives. My love for reading and writing came from an English teacher who could make the most boring works of literature come alive.

She also made us memorize huge passages of Shakespeare and others, most of which I can quote accurately today.

So we take this opportunity to say “thank you” to every classroom instructor in Wallowa County who labors steadfastly to ensure our students are educated and challenged.

Some of you I have had the privilege to get to know personally over the past year, and I am thankful for your support of what we do here at the Chieftain.

Hang in there, the school year will be over before you know it! Have a terrific National Teacher Appreciation Week.


Share and Discuss


User Comments