I recently came across an ABC News video by Eliza Murphy of a fifth grade English teacher in North Carolina who completes personalized handshakes with each of his students before they enter his classroom. The teacher, Barry White Jr., and his obvious connection to his students prompted me to consider how influential of a role teachers play in children's lives growing up, and how too many of them are under appreciated.
I've always thought it was a shame that teachers don't get paid as much as they're worth. Many of the teachers and professors I've had so far have been integral in shaping my character, my interests and my education. They teach so much more than math, writing and science. They often have to take on the many roles of a mentor, counselor and personal cheerleader for their students.
The most significant conclusion I came to after seeing this video, however, is that I wish videos such as this one didn't have to be newsworthy. I wish all teachers cared as deeply for their students' futures as much as White clearly does. Most of all, I wish this country as a whole would start to appreciate teachers as much as they deserve. I give kudos to White and his dedication to his students, but the fact of the matter is that there are teachers all across the country who feel the same way about their classes, yet their efforts often go unrecognized. Students of all ages and all backgrounds need to be told and shown someone believes in them and wants them to succeed. After all, our future presidents, surgeon generals, district attorneys, farmers and yes, future teachers, are being molded every day.
Can we make thanking our teachers an everyday practice now?