Family. Family is one of my prized possessions. Family is something I cherish and value. My parents and grandparents instill the importance of family in me. Therefore, I am going to tell you a little about my educator-filled family.
My parents are both retired educators. They actually met at a teacher’s conference in French Lick, IN. Both are proud graduates of Indiana State University where they received both their undergraduate and Master’s degrees.
My dad taught for over forty years at the same school corporation. He was an Industrial Technology/Health/Physical Education teacher. He also coached many sports at this high school (cross country, basketball, baseball, track). As a young girl, I can remember getting to go to practices with him. As I reflect back, my dad modeled several good educational traits. He is loyal. We joke that he bleeds purple, the school’s main color. I can count numerous weddings we have attended of his former players and students. This tells me he had their respect and there was a valued player-coach relationship. He made a difference and positively impacted student lives. I also remember several stories my dad would tell about his colleagues. He enjoyed working in the building. He had friendships with his peers and within the community. This was not just an 8am-3pm job for him.
My mom taught for 28 years within one corporation as well. She did take some time off when she had my brother and me, but she jumped right back in once we were both in school. Mom was an elementary teacher. She taught a range of grades during my lifetime (Kindergarten, Sixth Grade, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Physical Education). I remember my mom teaching all the sixth grade sections of math and English. Looking back now through the lens of a curriculum director, I am confident my mom was a heck of a teacher. I mean come on; she taught both of the tested content areas. WOW! Within the past couple of years as I have begun attending more conferences and presenting, I realized my mom did the same thing. She and another fellow teacher loved expanding their knowledge. My mom and I recently discovered we own some of the same Todd Whitaker books. I also think I am like my mom in that I do not back away from a challenge. I am not afraid of change. We know it takes a lot of work to change grade levels or to teach a different course. Yet, this was something my mom enjoyed.
Some say I act like my dad but look like my mom. Well I hope I act like them both. They both have taught me an immeasurable amount about being a good educator. And they did this by just being themselves. Because of my parents, I walked into this profession with my eyes-wide open and ready to make an impact. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
My husband is also an educator. He teaches Social Studies and is also a coach. He currently coaches football and basketball. As students have had both of us in class, they remark on how different we are in the classroom. I was pretty driven. He is way more fun. I love watching the rapport he has with students. I am always amazed and impressed by the way he calls students by their name. I also love that he builds relationships with all students. As a Social Studies teacher, he works with a diverse mix of the student population. I love that he treats them all the same. I am amazed by the stories we hear as we attend various graduation parties. The tales we hear enforce that he makes a difference in student lives. I also love how he uses his love of movies and random trivia to engage students in his classroom. I think he “teaches like a pirate” and doesn’t even know it.
I have one sibling. We are only eighteen months apart in age and have a close relationship. No surprise my brother is also an educator. He is a Social Studies teacher and also coaches. He is currently a basketball coach, but he has also coached softball and football previously. He kind of took the long route to becoming an educator. He first worked in marketing before transitioning to teaching. What can I say? It must be in his blood too. Oh, and his wife is a Guidance Counselor. When I visit their school corporation to attend basketball games, I love hearing about the life lessons they teach students. They listen. They teach “soft skills” through interactions and by setting an example. I can confidently claim students are better people after interacting with these two individuals.
As educators, we know we are more than just teachers. We impact student lives. What kind of impact do you make? What are your values? Who do you model your teaching practices after?