I wrote last week about teachers in Harnett County who changed my life through my experiences in the classroom. The response I got to that column makes me realize how much teachers care about their students, both current and past, and makes me think I haven’t done enough to say thanks over the years.
Within a few hours of last week’s column on personal educational heroes hitting the newsstands, the responses began. My goal of thanking my personal educators was clearly accomplished.
One teacher wrote, “You have made all the Harnett County teachers proud to be a teacher today.”
Another spouse of a teacher who has now passed away called to say thanks and was clearly touched by my work. Yet another staff member, who wasn’t mentioned by name in my column, called to thank me in general for recognizing teachers, saying it was a credit to all in the classroom in Harnett.
If I really did those things I was a success.
My only regret was that I didn’t mention all of the teachers who impacted my life. I could have added to the list and still not included all those who taught me at one of the four schools I attended in the local area.
Many of those who taught me stayed here in Harnett for several decades and some, in fact, are still in the field of education, either in a local school or at the central office.
That shows that not only do they care about teaching children, they care specifically about ones close to home. There are many cases of teachers who taught both parents and children. I hear the same thing from colleagues and friends in both Sampson and Johnston counties, as well.
This entire episode has taught me a vital lesson, we don’t thank teachers enough. They strive each day to make a difference in their students’ lives. They may see the results, or those results might not appear until years later.
I am thankful for The Daily Record for giving me this pulpit to publicly thank those who helped me. I am thankful to loyal readers who let me know they visit this space each Tuesday.
I encourage readers to thank the teachers in their lives, either theirs or those of their children. If you see a former teacher on the streets simply say thanks, it clearly means a lot.
Higher salaries, better benefits packages and more vacation time are well deserved, but maybe the smile or kind words of a former student are just as important. Young lives changed are much more important than dollar signs.
Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910-230-2038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.