Teachers are important for a good school year Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

The new school year invites us to reflect upon teachers' importance.

Though they sometimes fall short like other humans, good teachers influence our youth who are the hope of the future. Through their classes pass future lawyers, doctors, reporters, writers, farmers, secretaries, engineers, and other shapers of tomorrow's world.

Good teachers know and love their subject and their students. Coaches, chaperones, parents, counselors, and others who contribute to the school also teach youth. They often are role models.

We may have memories of teachers who made a difference. Some taught elementary school; others taught junior high, and still others taught high school or college. They often differed, but they had one trait in common. They cared about us, shared the subject that they loved, and helped us to grow. We should remember to thank them.

Thanking a teacher

A middle aged man admired a certain teacher because she helped him through a crisis. During a retreat, he realized that he had never thanked her. He decided to write her a letter of thanksgiving.

Gratefully, she wrote back that she lived alone and lingered like summer's last leaf. She added that she taught school for 50 years, and his letter was the first note of appreciation that she ever received.

It came on a blue morning and cheered her up as nothing did in years.

I taught high school for 22 years: consequently, I try to praise and thank teachers whenever I can. I know teaching's challenges and blessings. Teachers appreciate an occasional word of thanks. I know I do.

I treasure a note that a former student anonymously sent. This person quoted someone who said, "Our Sunday school teacher never talked down to us, no matter how silly we acted. I blush to think of the outrageous questions we asked just to bait him a little. He would smile and answer us with sincerity, wisdom, and above all with patience. We in turn would learn in spite of ourselves. We loved him like a father and he in turn taught us about the Heavenly Father."

Then this person added, "This quotation reminds me of you." I'm not sure he or she was right, especially regarding my patience, but I treasure the affirmation.

Value of good teachers

In my principal's office was a plaque that read, "Good teachers affect eternity. You never know where their influence stops."

This is especially true of religion teachers who teach us about the kingdom of God. Because of their subject's importance, they should be applauded and encouraged.

In the Dictionary of the Bible, John L. McKenzie wrote that the title teacher was given to Jesus more frequently than any other title. Religion teachers walk in Jesus' footsteps.

They need the support of responsible Christian parents who are the primary religion teachers of their children. They help to lay the foundation upon which religion teachers build. To paraphrase Mark Twain, I not only believe this; I have seen it.

Let's renew our appreciation for those teachers who did their best to teach us. To them I say, "I don't know how you did it, but you did. I believe you are one of earth's best examples of God's love and patience."

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.