Friday, September 5, 2008

Teacher's Day

Today is Teachers' day in India. Every year on this day I receive an email from a student of mine who lives in India sending his thanks and also to ask for my "teacher's blessing" for him and his endeavors. This has been going on for about 4 years now and I look forward to it.

In India September 5th is celebrated as Teachers' day as a mark of tribute to the contribution made by teachers to the society. This date is the birthday of a great teacher, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, who was a staunch believer of education, and was the well-known diplomat, scholar, president of India (elected in 1962) and above all a teacher. You can read more about Teachers' day here.

I love to teach. It's truly a passion. I think it is true that teachers are also the most frequent and enthusiastic students. I know I am. I love to learn. And, even when I am teaching, I'm learning. My students often impart as much helpful information to me as I do to them. How great is that?!?!

In any case, I wanted to take a moment to thank my teachers...all of you. I know my life has been shaped by all the wonderful teachers I have had.

I got to speak to one of my most favorite teachers just last week after more than 25 years. It happened out of the blue when my sister, who is a physical therapist and lives and works in Tennessee, called me during the day and said "I've got someone here for you to say hi to." She then handed the phone to someone who asked if I remembered her. Obviously, I was clueless and so she gave me a hint: "I had you in class for two years in a row." Ah-ha! It was Mrs. Crossno! She was my Latin teacher during my freshman and sophomore years in high school. Wow. As it turns out she was visiting my sister's office for some physical therapy and when she asked about me, Amy just called me up and handed her the phone.

It was very, very sweet to speak to her again after all these years. She retired just a couple of years ago but had remembered me all these years and even kept a little cartoon I drew way back then posted on the bulletin board in her classroom. It was a copy of a Peanuts cartoon showing Charlie Brown with his little sister Sally. Sally was resisting the idea of going to kindergarten and the caption read 'Well, all right, I'll go - but I'm not going to learn Latin.' Mrs. Crossno had laminated it and kept it in her classroom all those years.

She made quite an impact on me that's for sure. Two years of Latin, a "dead" language, equipped me with knowledge I used through college and still find skills I learned then coming in handy now. She taught us etymology (the study of word origins) and from that, I have been able to break many words down into their Latin roots so that I could get at least some understanding of their meaning when the word was new to me. And, it wasn't just what she taught me, it was how she did it. She made it fun. She was encouraging and supportive. She knew her stuff but never made you feel stupid for stumbling. She was an inspiration and gave so much of herself that it made you want to give back all you could.

So, today on this Teachers' day, I want to thank Mrs. Crossno and all my teachers throughout the years. You have blessed me in so many ways.

1 comment:

Brian Barker said...

I see that Boris Johnson wants Latin to be taught in all London schools. However I would prefer Esperanto on the basis that it has great propaedeutic values.

If you have time can I ask you to visit for evidence?