My Leap List

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Gift of Teachers

     Teachers amaze me.  They change lives every day with their magic.  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) ended a few days ago.  Three 7th grade teachers encouraged their students to participate.  They gave students class time every day, a place to write, and motivated them with praise and competitions.  Their students wrote over three million words.  Seventeen of their students met the adult goal of 50,000 words in a month.  Pure magic!  I can only imagine what my life would have been had my 7th grade English teacher encouraged me to write a novel.  I might actually be an author now, rather than still dreaming about it.
     Three teachers downstairs help students write persuasive speeches, applying the Constitution to their lives today.  Students research their topics, write speeches, and prepare follow-up questions to show they can think on their feet.  In a few weeks, the students will stand before local politicians, business owners and civic leaders to present their speeches to a real audience.  They are excited and involved in political issues.  These students will not be apathetic leaders of the future.
     Down the hall, a teacher makes hot chocolate for his students to celebrate rocket launching day.  With his guidance, students have learned about rockets, created their own designs, and built their rockets from scratch.  Today they launch their creations on a cold December day with hot chocolate gripped tight in their hands.  Every time I smell hot chocolate, I will think of the awe and excitement as their faces followed the rockets across the sky.
     Across the hall, the dance company runs through the final preparations for the three performances of the day.  They twirl and leap and fly across the stage.  We all stare in stunned silence at the way they defy gravity on the stage.
     Up on the balcony, math students prepare their final calculations before sending the GI Joes bungee jumping to the floor.  Groans and cheers accompany the jumps, as students reassess their equations.  I wish I was smart enough to explain what they were doing, but my math classes were limited to endless worksheets and the odd problems in the book.  I got As and Bs, but I don't know how to apply what I learned.  The kids tried to explain it to me, but it got lost in translation.  I wonder what my brain could do today if it had learned to apply math, starting with bungee jumping GI Joes.
     These are just a few examples of the magic going on with the teachers I know, in one school, in one district, in one city, in one state, in America today.  Imagine that number infinitely adding across the world.  Teachers are incredible gifts.  They touch our future every day with the magic they give our children. 

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