As I consider all the amazing teachers who poured into me over the years, in the natural, one in particular stands out, and in the "spirit", yet another.
Mr. Mason, my anatomy and physiology teacher in high school was probably the most influential teacher in my life on many levels. In class, he always provided ways to go above and beyond the expectations of the curriculum to earn even more points. I didn't know then, but understand clearly now, that they tasks he "required" to receive the extra points were those that would carry over into every day life, no matter what avenue a student pursued. Outside the classroom, Mr. Mason's booming voice could be heard over others at all of my track and field events. Somehow, knowing that he was there cheering me on gave me that extra boost I needed to finish strong and strive for more than simply finishing the race: I wanted to improve upon my last performance and be more than I was at that point. I thank God for Mr. Mason as he gently and lovingly challenged students to rise up to levels they never knew they could reach.
In the "spirit", the teacher I am most thankful for is Jesus. If anyone has ever been in my classroom, he will tell you that I am the queen of asking questions, forcing students to think for themselves. This is the model that Jesus used and I continue to implement, drawing out all of that which is already in a student.
I wish you readers could see the smile on my face and the glimmer in my eye as I sit here finishing this blog post. My heart is warmed, once again, as I reflect upon these fabulous teachers and the impact they have had and continue to have on me and therefore, on my students. I give thanks today for them!