What sticks out about your education? I have a lot of people to be thankful to for what I took away from school. Not all of it is connected to spelling or handwriting or math facts. I learned those things pretty well, and I’m extremely thankful. But there are other rich things I brought into adulthood that are much harder to quantify, even though I’ve drawn on them just as much as I have the skills and facts I learned. My teachers have stayed with me through the years because of those other, more hard to pin-down things. So I thought I’d make a list of the people that inspired me—an honor roll of sorts:
My parents: They made stories and poetry part of the rhythm of our life, and took us to concerts, operas and ballets.
Kindergarten teacher: She put on a circus every year (I got to be a clown and a tight-rope walker.)
1st grade teacher: She emptied out my desk, threw all my unfinished work in the garbage and gave me a fresh start.
2nd grade teacher: She brought her husband to class as a special guest, and he whistled for us (he was amazing.)
3rd grade teacher: She told us stories that terrified me, and made me think.
4th grade teacher: He told us a special joke every month, and wrote a poem every Friday about a different kid in the class.
5th grade teacher: She picked luminous books to read aloud to us every day after lunch, and taught us how to write Haiku.
6th grade teacher: He showed us the world in a new light.
My violin teacher (middle school years): She suggested that I try to make my violin sound like velvet, or chocolate.
7th grade English teacher: He read one of my poems to the class.
10th grade English teacher: He gave me a “B” on a paper.
My mom: She took a red pencil to that paper and showed me exactly why I got a “B”.
My dad: He gave me a vision for what I could do with the violin if I practiced, and then showed me how to practice.
High school art teacher: He made his classroom a safe place for all different sorts of kids.
Chinese teacher: She became an amazing writer.
12th grade English teacher: He made journal-writing a regular assignment, and stretched my understanding.
College violin professor: He taught me that in order to communicate properly I had to know what I wanted to say.
There were others, too—this is the short list. But I think there’s enough wisdom there for a lifetime. What would your honor roll look like?