The Perfect Teacher

The new school year is starting soon and so I would like to devote this blog post to all the teachers and share something I read recently that, to me, describes the perfect teacher.

There’s always been teachers in my family.

My father was a teacher. I have aunts, uncles, cousins, and brothers who are or have been teachers.

My wife was a teacher. My own career in education began as a classroom teacher.

I respect teachers. I appreciate teachers. They have a tough job that’s not getting any easier.

So the description of the perfect teacher that I’m about to share isn’t a checklist of character traits or bullet points of teaching methods.

Rather, I’ve chosen to publish the words of a student who wrote about one of her teachers many years later after she had grown up, had a family of her own, and had herself become a teacher. This is what she had to say about her perfect teacher:

[She] was my third grade teacher and she will forever hold a special place in my heart. I visited her FaceBook page today, as often times I had done in the past. I was dropping in [on Facebook] to let her know I was thinking of her and to thank her for being the utmost nurturing teacher and mother- figure that she was to me.

I loved popping in on [her] Facebook [page] to let her know I would forever be grateful to her for getting me through the roughest of all my entire years in school … the year my parents divorced. She literally would hold me, wipe my tears, and talk to me in her sweet angelic way that would get me through my roughest days. Now, as a teacher and mother having marital problems myself, I wanted to pass along to her that I am holding my girls and loving them in a way that she had done for me many years ago.”

“I thank God I had such a wonderful lady as my teacher that year who continues to help me many years later. I wish I could have shared this with her personally or paid my respects to her and attended her funeral. [She] truly was a wonderful lady that is still to this day loved beyond measure!”

Those of you that know me may have figured it out by now the perfect teacher this student is describing is my late wife, Diane, who passed away May 10, 2011 from pancreatic cancer.

These words are from a note I recently received from this former student. The person had not heard about Diane’s passing until she recently visited her Facebook page.

She gave me permission to share her note and the sentiments she expressed about her teacher and her friend, Mrs. Mills.

My wife was a good teacher. She worked hard at it. But what made her a perfect teacher was that she tried to impact students’ lives.

While she worked hard at teaching her students all the subjects they must know to pass her class, she really got involved personally with her students and was able to make a difference in the lives of some of her students.

And, to me, that’s what made her the perfect teacher!

She thought part of the job description for being a teacher was to help her students become better people, to prepare them for life!

So when you were in Mrs. Mills’ class, you left it as a better person or you left knowing there was someone who cared about you and wanted you to be a better person.

And you were not just her former student but her friend for life!

As each new school year begins, teachers have new opportunities presented to them. They can make a difference in their students’ lives. They can impact students for a lifetime! And in so doing, become a perfect teacher!

I have no doubt that is the desire of most, if not all, teachers.

So as this new school year started, I wanted to write this tribute to Mrs. Mills and to all the perfect teachers starting a new school year.

And if you have the opportunity to reach out and touch a child’s life, go for it, take it, do it!

After all, that’s probably why you are a teacher in the first place…

So be the perfect teacher this year. The children deserve it!

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