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Teacher, Teacher

She believed in me when I didn’t know what I believed about myself. She helped me see who I wanted to be. She looked me in the eyes and listened. She cared and I took her words to heart.

I called her Mrs. Guthrie. We all did. She was the computer/word processing teacher and led the Tennessee Office Education Club. She recommended me for a coop position at an attorney’s office because she said she knew I’d be an exceptional employee and would be a valuable addition to their staff.

She was my teacher and so much more.

My oldest daughter remembers her English teacher, Mrs. Graham. She not only taught high school English, she taught “about life and Jesus as well. She always tried a little bit every day to prepare our souls for the real world.”

Coach Scott and Coach Childress influenced my son in a significant way. “They were laid back and didn’t let me be lazy with my work,” he said.

My youngest is still in high school. She was clearing out an old binder as she prepared for the first day of school this year and noticed a note in the right hand pocket. Coach Dilbeck wrote her the note at the end of last school year but she’d not seen it then. She read those words the exact moment she needed them most. What a simple, yet powerful and beautiful way to encourage a high school student. Words written on a scrap of notebook paper. Words she keeps clipped to a board of memories, and photos, and other things important to her. Words she’ll never forget.

I lived through high school. And now I’ve experienced the ups and downs of those hard and mean high school years with my three children. As a mom who saw and sees how it makes a difference, I say thank you to every teacher who took or takes the time to look my kids in the eyes and listen. Thank you for not letting them get away with less than their best work. Thank you for caring about who they are. Thank you for every single encouraging word you offer. You are shaping lives.

It means more than you know. They will remember. For years and years to come, they will remember.

Here’s to you high school teacher. Here’s to you for showing up every day. Here’s to you for seeing beyond their high school facade. The one they show the world. The one that makes them look tough on the outside. Here’s to you for remembering how it was in high school. Here’s to you for caring when it’d be easier not to. Here’s to you for making the extra effort to connect to your students.

Here’s to you Coach Estes, Coach Dilbeck, Mrs. Schley, and Mrs. Rose. Here’s to you Mrs. Guthrie, Coach Scott, Mrs. Graham, Mrs. Montgomery, and Coach Childress. And to all the other unnamed high school teachers who love and care for your students every day.

Thank you for living like it matters.

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