News, School News

Op-Ed: A Tribute to Teachers

by Jennifer Webber

As a child, I never appreciated the role of my teachers. I just saw teaching as a job of my parents. As a student, I considered the school day itself as a necessary evil for all students to spend the majority of their time in a classroom, doing homework, and taking tests. To say I valued my teachers was sadly nowhere in my memory.

As an adult, however, I can’t seem to quit going to school because Texas A&M University made a way into my heart and I have made a way into their classrooms.

School is now more than something that “has to be done” but is essential. Reading, writing, mathematics, history, and science are instrumental to everyday living; and to build a strong educational foundation early on is critical. Even beyond meticulous writing, or solving equations school should provide a safe space for children to learn and grow from the inside out.

At any level, school becomes a training ground for students to learn how to work in community, lead through conflict, build relationships, and become a team player. It baffles me that I had never thought that school was less than important.

The truth is students would never be able to develop academically or socially in school without its leaders— teachers. It is the commitment and heart of the educators who make success possible. It requires the talents and tenacity of the teachers to meet the students where they are, connect on their level, and persist in teaching the content in which they master.

Teaching is hard. Teaching requires long hours, few breaks, and a lot of work. Our teachers can never be paid enough or thanked enough for the work they do. Often times teachers use their own time and their own paycheck to ensure top quality teaching is given and received by their students. Teaching is certainly a calling, a love, and a passion.

I had a teacher at Hancock Middle Senior High School who sat down beside me in a hallway with a laptop to walk me through the stories and essays I was learning to write. I remember it vividly, as I had never had a teacher simply take me out of class, find a quiet spot, and encourage me. To this day, I attribute my Questions & Answers About Our Environment love and ability to preach, teach, and write to her efforts. I want to encourage our teachers and educators with a word of thanks. Thank you for sharing your intelligence, your concern, and your heart with our students. Thank you for never giving up or ever giving in during challenging times. You might never know, or it might be years down the road until you realize, that the extra half hour listening to or helping students could be exactly what propels them forward and sets them on a path to having a successful family, career, and life.

Now more than ever, our communities need teachers. Our students need to feel loved; our students need to feel safe; and our students need to be taught necessary life skills. I’m writing this to implore you to support your educators. Speak up for them, encourage them, and show them that their role is vital to the lives of children placed in their care.

If you are a teacher, thank you. If you are a student and have a teacher, thank your teacher. If you know someone who is a teacher, commend them. Most importantly, let us all support our teachers with our praise and prayers as they help our young people to become men and women of character to lead our homes, our communities, and our nation.

Jennifer Webber was born and raised in Hancock and began her ministry at Hancock United Methodist Church. She contributes her love for God and his people to the kindness and compassion she learned growing up from the people of Western Maryland. Jennifer currently serves the Lord in Bryan, Texas with her two daughters, Charleston and Eve.