Great teachers build nations. Great teachers provide the inspiration for highly engaged and effective learning. They awaken and raise our children’s expectations. Great teachers also inspire creation through tapping into students’ imaginations that lead to discovery. They shape our next generation of great decision-makers.
Let’s be clear, teaching is hard work done correctly. Most high level professions are. So again, let’s be clear teaching is a high level profession. As I reflect on my career, my choosing to be a teacher was a very deliberate choice based on the mentoring of a college professor (teacher).
My teaching career did not begin with the same story that many teachers share. I did not have an epiphany when I said to myself, “I want to be a teacher.” My journey as an educator began during my sophomore year at Purdue University when Professor Hobe Jones pulled me into his office and asked if I had ever considered teaching. When I said, “no,” he explained that he saw a talent in me for educating and wanted me to double major in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. It is amazing how someone like Dr. Jones can make a huge impact on someone’s life. His inspiration and personal interest helped me to deal with the challenges of a double major, making my 27 year educational career possible. Without Dr. Jones’ personal interest in my abilities, I probably would have missed this opportunity. It is his example of true caring that I strive to emulate every day of my teaching career.
Teaching is a high level profession and we need to become very deliberate in recruiting students into this profession. Only the best will do for our children. As Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Tony Bennett says: “What if Indiana’s most important work was also our most valued work?” In closing I would like to share a video I was part of making with the Indiana Department of Education in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week entitled: What if? To view the video click here.