A Personal Take on National Teacher Appreciation Day

Teacher Appreciation

For National Teacher Appreciation Day, I would like to take a moment to thank all teachers. It is you who choose to make the success of our future your life’s work.

My teachers impacted my character and my professional life:

Geraldine Giraldi, my 5th grade teacher who taught me that learning can be fun. She showed our class that a teacher who spends the time to customize a curriculum to make it relevant to the students can completely engage them. She showed that enthusiasm for what you do is infectious. I miss her.

Arthur Kugelmass, my 6th grade teacher, took the time to notice a passion of mine, space exploration, and provided me with a platform and challenge to broaden it by handing over the class to me for a half day. Talk about gaining respect for a teacher. I had to figure out the curriculum and then stand up in front of a bunch of rowdy kids. I draw on the confidence that was developed by speaking in front of that class in every business meeting I am in.

My high school AP English teacher, Richard Gross, was universally reviled at the time we sat in his class. We would have papers at least 3 times a week and they would come back with more red than our ink. He demanded effort. It took success on the exam to understand the method in our perceived madness. He cared about our success, so he made sure that we applied ourselves. The way that he led us to greater heights is something I try to draw upon in my daily work.

Andrew Garrod, my education professor, taught adolescent development (among other things). He was the man who taught us about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Professor Garrod instilled a love of the education profession and the care and passion that educators have for their students.

Professor Christian Jernstedt chaired the Psychology department (my major) and taught my Senior year seminar. His focus was the psychology of learning. He was drawn to ways we could acquire knowledge more effectively. I still remember “if you want to learn something, teach it.” Something I try to do every day with my clients and colleagues. Often they are teaching me and then I am attempting to teach others so that I know that I’ve mastered the concept.

Today, it is my children’s teachers for whom I am most thankful. Numerous studies show how great teachers deliver better outcomes for their students. My children have wonderfully committed teachers who are instilling them with great lessons that I know they will take with them on their journeys. Thank you!