To the teachers who make anything possible

It’s not popular with a lot of people, I suppose, to point out that teachers — and I will insist that in particular, third grade teachers — are angels on earth. But they are.

Teachers put pieces of themselves in their students and then send them off to the world.

Over the weekend, it was a singular delight for my wife and I, for example, to see both of our grown sons (and wives) reunited with their third grade teacher when we were all at a fundraiser for a local non-profit on Saturday evening.

“The best part of retirement,” said Mrs. Olsen (she’s always going to be Mrs. Olsen in my house), “is meeting the students I had who are all grown up.”

Reader and former colleague Jeff Conrod forwards me this story from Minneapolis author Kate DiCamillo who saw first-hand again recently what angels can accomplish.

In Chicago on Saturday at an event hosted by The Book Stall, a young man came through the line clutching paperback…

Posted by Kate DiCamillo on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

You can do a lot worse today than taking the time to read the comments attached to her post.

Good teachers and good authors make anything possible for kids.

Related: Dayton proposes emergency school spending (MPR Capitol View)

  • Matt Black

    I remember a homework assignment from my 3rd grade teacher that we did. I didn’t try particularly hard on it. I don’t remember what the grade was but written in big red ink on top of the paper it said “You can and will do better” with the will underlined. Any time I think about sluffing through something now, I can always picture that written on the top of the paper and I buckle down and get it done the right way.

    Thanks, Mrs. Mehney

  • Third grade was my most favorite year in grade school. Miss Christiansen was the best!

  • Dan

    Great post, Bob! We’ve got to change the narrative that teaching is an awful profession. I’ve done it for 20 years and it’s really great. It isn’t a job; it’s a life-style.

    One of my mentors at UNI (in Cedar Falls, IA) once challenged us at a leadership conference with the following journal prompt….

    “Think of your life’s script and consider how many lines on that script were written by teachers. THEN, consider the lines that you have written and will write into the life-scripts of the students you work with every day.”

    I’ve been that 3rd grade teacher from your photo a few times and I will hedge a bet that she was just as pleased and excited as your family was when the camera when “click.”

    Also, thank you to my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Lechty! 🙂

    • That’s lovely. Thanks for that. Thanks for your service.

  • Doug

    I don’t even remember my 3rd grade teacher, but I fully agree that they and all teachers are so very important.

  • Jack

    Mr. Johnson taught us about ecology with Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. He taught us about growing old by sponsoring a volunteer program to visit our “adopted” grandparents in the local nursing home. He taught us about humility and volunteering.

    Before he died, I wrote to tell him the impact he made on my life and how I had paid it forward in various volunteer efforts.

    Amazing what a sixth grade teacher did for me. RIP Mr.Johnson..

    • Al

      And you told him so. Good on you.

  • KariBemidji

    I loved my 3rd grade teacher for so many reasons but there is one above all that stands out. My dad had a grand mal seizure in the middle of the night, so we had an ambulance crew, our neighbor and my aunt in our house. Of course, I got sent to school the next day and I fell asleep during Mass. Miss Miron knew what was going on and let me sleep. A small act of kindness and compassion has lasted a lifetime (plus excellent cursive and a love of reading).

    And as a spouse of a teacher, nothing makes me prouder when someone comes into my office, see his picture and says: “My kid didn’t understand math until he had your husband.”

  • Angry Jonny

    Thank you, Mrs. Isle. I was in the hospital a couple days in third grade when I had my appendix out. So she took the class on a field trip to visit me.

  • Al

    My third-grade teacher sent each student in her class a postcard from her summer travel to (at the time) Czechoslovakia. I kept it for years. I felt so special to get mail (!) from a teacher (!!) in the summer (!!!). Thanks, Mrs. McIntyre.