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Honor a Teacher this Month

Teachers come in all sizes, all ages, from all countries.  They teach so many different things it would be hard to name them all.  In our hemisphere there are many countries having a public school year that ends in the spring, specifically May or June, and here we are in that very time.  Graduation ceremonies are being held and both students and teachers are being honored for their work, and along that line, I have an education story to share with you. It is special to me and you will see why.

For several years I have been getting acquainted with an organization called Asia's Hope.  They establish homes for orphans and children at risk in India, Thailand and Cambodia.  With help from a variety of private sponsors they have built several campuses consisting of from five to ten orphan homes and a school.  Each home houses a family unit of 20 -24 children, a house parent couple and one or two additional caretakers.  The children have this family for life and part of what is provided for each child is a good education.  

On the Asia's Hope campus where I have visited, early grades are taught on premises but older students go to public high school and then to university or trade school, much like the pattern in the United States.  This May many are finishing their school year and getting their class ranking. One home in particular has sent me a "glowing" report of the progress several of their students have made. Three of their students placed 2nd in their classes of over 40, and two placed 3rd in their classes.

Since all of these children are serious students and aspire to be the hope of their country for the future, one of the things they are learning is the English language.  When I first met them in 2011 most spoke no English at all and it was difficult to communicate with them in any depth.  Hugs and smiles were about as far as we could go.  This has gradually changed over the years. Numerous ones are fluent and most understand well even if they cannot speak.  The final announcement from this home was of special note.

"One of our young students has been working to teach English to others at a local school."

A new teacher has been born! This young lady wants to study nursing at the university some day but for now she is sharing her knowledge of English with younger students, which is quite an accomplishment.  Imagine yourself learning a second language well enough to teach it to others.  I am so proud of her!

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Remembering Excellent Teachers

Junior High was the designation given to seventh and eighth grades back in the dark ages when I went to school in my small midwestern town. Compared to the present, that time was pretty safe. It never occurred to us that someone might bring a gun to school, and gangs were the kids you played ball with after school (well, I guess that's still true – except that's about all we did in our gangs).

 

 

But even back then some of the sharpest, most discerning teachers were put in charge of our learning. They were demanding, but they rewarded every effort and helped us build confidence. It was during those years that I came to know and appreciate Kathryn Coogan and Mary Harnden.

 

Mrs. Coogan was small but powerful. I'm not going to say she was an eccentric dresser but I remember her most vividly as walking down Main Street in her matching coat and beret, heels, and full makeup, especially rouged cheeks. She was precise and careful and she made me want to please her any time she gave an assignment. She was watchful and there was no fooling around in her class. I don't remember ever being uncomfortable with her style of teaching but she was not “our buddy” as some teachers are tempted to be. The lines were clear and she was in charge. English was her forte. Many sentences were diagrammed. I don't know if that is even done anymore but it kind of made parts of speech fun and memorable for me. She made me care how my handwriting looked.

 

Mary Harnden was formidable in a different way. She looked more like a grandmother, but the silent type. I never was quite sure what she was thinking about my work and as a result I learned to critique myself more thoroughly. She taught us to read widely and carefully, among other things.

 

 

The bus I rode to school traveled the road past Mrs. Harnden's house and every day I saw her gardens and wondered when she had time to work in them. I knew some of her own children and admired how they excelled in school. I think she had a hard life in some ways but I'm ashamed that being an average, self-absorbed teen-age girl, I never really knew her. A couple years ago on a visit home, I heard that she was living in the local nursing home and I felt I had to go see her. I wanted to let her know how much I appreciated her as an educator. I don't know if she remembered me or not. I sat across from her at her table and we put a few pieces of her jig saw puzzle together.

 

I don't know what happened when these ladies retired from teaching because I moved away and lost touch with the school. Hopefully, they were celebrated and honored. There's no doubt that they influenced countless young people positively during their careers. I know I will never forget them.

 

Is there a teacher that had an impact on your life? Maybe one you never had a chance to thank?   

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I Order An Apple (easy, anybody can do it)

b2ap3_thumbnail_diamond-cut-crystal-apple-14d.jpgThinking a lot today about the value of recognition. I've known quite a few remarkable individuals over the years and have tried to express appreciation to them in various ways, but today I'm wondering what it would be like to let my appreciation be told through Apple Awards. I think I'll order an apple...

 

Ready,. set, go

Hello website: pretty simple to find and know I'm in the right place. Hmm... side bar has a lot of options but I think I'll go for the signature “crystal apple”.

 

Next step:

I need to match the product to it's recipient. My favorite teacher is a high school guidance counselor who is under the stress of carrying out what they refer to as ObamaCore (Common Core) guidelines. There is some change to be grappled with every day just with policies and procedures, let alone the problems the students present. And for years she has volunteered many hours a week to teach a Bible class with over 100 women attending. I want her to have something truly beautiful that will lift her spirits (and everyone else's) every time it's seen. I'm choosing the diamond cut apple. It will catch the light - the product description gives me a good idea of what it will look like on her desk. A note appears telling me that this is a unique item made exclusively by Apple Awards. I love it.

 

 Personalization:

I do a “one click” and my available lines of engraving appear with choices of font and letter size. I'm happy to be able to play around with the arrangement and see a preview of the label every time I change it. We are good to go here.

 

 Checkout:

The website prompts help me navigate through payment, billing and shipping information. As I do the final “submit” a note pops up, asking me to click only once and then be patient while the server responds. Good to know.

 

 Confirmation:

Within minutes I have a confirmation email with greetings from Stacy Hessel, the customer service specialist. My order number and an estimated shipping date are included. A short sentence encourages me to present questions or concerns and because her sign off signature includes “with smiles”,  I think she means it.

 

 My friend Joy is a special person in my life right now, and although I can't afford to buy something of this quality for everyone who fits that description, I know this will make a statement to Joy that will be worth every penny.

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