Motivation Monday! A Link Party Blog Post!

I'm terribly excited about my blog post today because it is part of a larger effort being conducted by "The Compelled Educator", the fabulous Jennifer Hogan. Jennifer has invited bloggers around the globe to spread some motivational love today and she will connect our posts.You can see other bloggers' motivational posts by clicking the Link Party icon below.

Now, I'm taking the somewhat easy way out today and reposting two of my favorite posts I've already written. They are both motivational in nature. In the first, I recall a fantastic reunion with my 5th grade teacher, who after 41 years is still going strong. In the second, I share some advice with my favorite first year year teacher in the whole world - my daughter. I hope you enjoy these posts and the connected words of wisdom in our link party.


Dinner With Mrs. Walters

A quick warning: Today's blog post has nothing to do with technology. It does, however, have everything to do with the power of education and the beauty of teaching.

Last night a former classmate of mine, Donald Kotulan, joined me for a wonderful dinner. Don and I went to grade school, middle school, and high school together. And, Don and I had the same wonderful fifth grade teacher - Mrs. Carol Walters. So last night, when Don was back in town, we had a lovely dinner with our fifth-grade teacher. Yes, that's right - our fifth-grade teacher!

Now I'm no spring chicken, and as I did the calculation last night before dinner, I realized we had Mrs. Walters 38 years ago! She was fairly new new teacher at the time and, boy, was she incredible

Now I'll be honest, I don't remember everyone that was in that class, but I do remember "The Five Boys." And, lucky for us, Mrs. Walters fondly remembers "The Five Boys" - me, Don, Tom, Kevin, and Gilbert. We were five precocious, rambunctious, energetic, curious, little boys who would do anything and everything to please Mrs. Walters. Bear in mind, we were 12 years old, the year was 1974, and Mrs. Walters was a young knockout teacher. Hubba! Hubba! We were all in love!

Don't get me wrong. It wasn't just her beauty that fascinated us. It was her love for teaching. It was her energy, her passion, her enthusiasm. She pushed us, she challenged us, she engaged us, and most of all - she loved us. I don't have a clue about what content that she taught us, but I know she ignited my love for learning in ways that no teacher had before or has since. She was, in short, the best teacher I ever had.

We enjoyed her class so much (and for some reason she enjoyed us so much) that the summer after our fifth grade year, she had the five of us over to her house. Her wonderful husband, Les, cooked hamburgers for us. Then, the year later after our sixth grade year, she invited us back.  And the year after that, and the year after that, and ...


We stayed in touch with Mrs. Walters until graduation and then we all went off to find our place in the world. As an educator in San Antonio, I was blessed to run across Mrs.Walters on several occasions. And for a short time, we we even worked in the same school district. I ran into her again several weeks ago at a robotics competition and when I posted a picture of the two of us on Facebook, my friend Don jumped at the chance to see her again. He came into town this week, and looked up Mrs. Walters to arrange our fantastic dinner date.

So last night, Don, Mrs. Walter's wonderful husband Les, Mrs. Walters, and I went out.  We reminisced. We caught up. We told her about our children. She told us about her grandchildren.

As I mentioned earlier, we had Mrs. Walters 38 years ago. We were tickled to find out last night that she is still teaching. She's in her 41st year of education as a gifted and talented coordinator in an elementary school. I know she is still inspiring children in the magical the way she inspired us. She has made a world of difference to so many in her 41 years of dedicated service!

As an educator, I'm so pleased to see that their are still students enjoying the perks of being in Mrs. Walters class. But I warn all the students in the world - "The Five Boys" set the bar pretty high!

We love you, Mrs. Walters. Thanks for all you did to turn five crazy boys turn into the five men we are today.



An Open Letter to My Daughter on her First Day of Teaching

Today is my daughter's first day of school. Well, to be more precise, it's her first day of school as a teacher. Today she starts her new career - a dream she's held on to since she was a child.  It's so exciting to see her realize her dream and it's especially rewarding for me since she's teaching in the same district I work in. So, today I share with you, my readers, my letter to her on this momentous day.


My dearest Ariana,

Today is your second "first day of school." First, and foremost, I have tell you just how proud I am of you - of the fact that you're a teacher now, of the wonderful young lady you've become, and of all the wonderful work I've already seen you do as you've prepared for this school year.




It seems like only yesterday that your mom and I dropped you off at Coker Elementary for your first day of school. When we dropped you off, we gave you three simple pieces of advice to help you in your new journey...

  • Don't Be Afraid.
  • Listen to Your Teacher.
  • Have Fun.

So, here I sit, 17 years later and wonder what sage advice I should give you as a new teacher. After all, I have over 20 years of experience in education. I should be able to come up with something meaningful, earth shattering, and profound. Right?

Well, as it turns out, my advice to you today is the same as it was all those years ago.

Don't Be Afraid

A new job, especially one that affects the lives of children, can be daunting. You may be a little concerned about whether you're ready for this wonderful new challenge. I can honestly tell you - you have nothing to fear. To put it simply, "You've got this!" 

Watching you prepare for your class these last few weeks has amazed me. You have the enthusiasm of a brand new teacher mixed brilliantly with the insight of a veteran. You have a clear vision of where you want to take your students and I am confident that you'll do it. Realize that you will stumble.  You'll make mistakes. You'll get frustrated.  But, never be afraid to take those risks. You'll grow as a teacher and your students will benefit in the long run. 

Teaching can sometimes be a battle. But the rewards are great. So venture boldly!

Listen To Your Teacher

Years ago you listened to your teacher and all went well. That advice still holds true, but it has a different meaning now. I want you to listen to the teacher inside of you. In other words, trust yourself. You've been blessed by God with an incredible ability to connect with young children. You've always been good at it. Anytime you walk into a room with kids, I'm amazed at how quickly they flock to you. When kids are with you they feel safe, cared for, and most importantly - loved. You have a rare teaching instinct.  Trust that instinct. Follow you heart and it will always lead you in the right direction.



Have Fun

There is no other job in the world as fun as teaching. Your students will make you laugh daily. Your colleagues and you will share incredible experiences. Never stop having fun. 

There will be plenty of things to test you and push you to your limits. But keep your eyes on the big picture. You may dread the paperwork. You might hate the test. You can despise the duty assignment. But, never, ever stop loving the adventure. 

People like you and I are so blessed, sweetie. I truly believe we are called by God to serve His children. Our job is not only a profession, but it is our mission. Relish in the fact that you get to do what you love every day!

I love you so much and am very proud of you! You're gonna rock that Pre-K room!




Comments

Jen H. said…
Roland - both of these posts are so beautifully amazing! I love how you and your classmates made a special connection with your teacher. I'm sure you touched her life as much as she touched yours. Your daughter is probably a great teacher as well, with the support and love you give her and model for her. Thanks for the post!
waynetuttle said…
Roland-thank you for sharing to beautiful stories of the power of a teacher. I have that teacher who changed my life too and sadly have not seen him in many years. The last time I did see him I was so star struck that I was not able to put into words the powerful influence he had on my life. It was like I was standing with Derek Jeter or MJ. I am sure your daughter will treasure that letter for years to come.
Jennifer Hogan said…
Wow! What powerful posts! First, my 6th grade teacher was Mr. Holloway, and he was awesome! I so wish I had kept in touch and could have dinner with him! My oldest daughter is a senior in high school this year, so your email to your daughter resonated with me as she is getting ready for her last year of high school then on to her next journey. Thank you so much for being a part of the linky party!
Jennifer

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