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Teddy Bear Teacher

*My wife motioned me down the hallway and placed an index finger over her lips.

She wanted to be certain I was quiet as I approached my daughter’s bedroom.

We each peeked into our daughter Marissa’s room. We made sure she could not see us but it didn’t matter, Marissa’s attention was focused on a book.

Our six year old daughter was reading her favorite story to her dolls and stuffed animals.

She had them aligned in a semi-circle and we tried not to laugh as she directed her teddy bear to pay attention. We also smiled as she licked her finger before turning each page of the book as she read. We figured she learned this habit from her Kindergarten teacher.

After the story, she wrote some directions on her miniature chalkboard.

She asked her class of dolls and stuffed animals if they understood the project.

Our daughter was pretending to be a teacher and we were enjoying the show.

When her make-believe school session was over, Marissa came out of her room and proclaimed “I want to be a teacher when I grow up”.

She explained that teachers really love kids and they teach them important stuff.

My wife and I told her that if she wanted to be a teacher, we thought she would be a good one and that teaching was an important job!

She told us, she would be just as nice as her teacher was!

Her first teacher must have had a tremendous impact on our daughter because Marissa still wants to teach. Marissa is studying Early Childhood Education at Wright State University and she is getting closer to fulfilling her aspiration to be a full time teacher.

As a college student, Marissa goes into real classrooms and works with real kids, not stuffed bears or dolls. She works at a different elementary school each semester and she tells us she learns as much from the children as they learn from her. When each semester ends, Marissa always tells us how much she will miss the kids and how much she enjoyed being with them. When she talks about these kids, I can see the care and compassion in my daughter’s eyes. It is the same look many of my teachers had and the same look that my daughter’s teachers had as well.

I believe many teachers are like my daughter.

They know from an early age that they want to be teachers.

Teaching is in their blood and in their hearts.

They want to have an impact on kids and on the world.

They have something inside them that the rest of us just don’t possess.

My daughter’s first teacher still teaches at Marissa’s old elementary school. Marissa and I met her first grade students last fall. I read my children’s books* to the kids and Marissa showed the children pictures in the books as I read. She also helped answer any questions the kids had.

When I saw my daughter working with the students, I thought back to when she was in her bedroom practicing with stuffed animals and dolls.

A part of me was sad to see my daughter all grown up, but mostly I was proud.

Proud that Marissa was sticking to her goal of wanting to become a teacher. Proud of how she handled the kids and herself. I was also pleased that she was able to show her former teacher what a positive impact she had made on my daughter. I could see her former teacher was pleased too!

Teaching children isn’t like teaching a stuffed animal.

Children need someone with patience, fortitude and creativity.

Children need someone with the right mix of sternness and silliness

Children need someone that cares about their intellectual and emotional growth.

Children need a person that can be a mentor one day and a friend the next.

Children need someone that can make a positive impact on their lives and  that as what most teachers provide every day!

As a new school year is set to begin, let’s tip our cap to all teachers and wish them a successful academic year!

 

* My children’s books: Mealtime Guests and The Really Magic Marker are available at

www.amazon.com and www.blackrosewriting.com

 

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