“Inspired” by a teacher
In support of World Teachers’ Day, October 5, the Alberta Teachers’ Association has launched a series of print ads that will appear on a bus shelter, at a mall or on a website near you.
The ads, which feature the tagline “Inspired,” are designed to evoke the idea that teachers light the spark of greatness in students. The ads illustrate an artist who discovers a love of drawing in her elementary art class, an engineer who designs the next great paper airplane and a builder who creates tree houses. All these people were inspired by a teacher.
Being inspired by a teacher is an experience most people can relate to. Most of us remember that one special teacher—the one who steered us in the right direction or kept us from going off the rails completely. For me it was Mrs. Hynd, my Grade 8 English language arts teacher. She caught me talking in class one too many times. Tired of being constantly interrupted, Mrs. Hynd challenged me to come back to class the next day and stand in front of a roomful of students to see how hard it was to teach grammar to a bunch of 13-year-olds.
After school that day, I sought out my previous school’s principal, who helped me design a lesson plan to teach the thrilling concept of dangling modifiers. I worked harder on that lesson plan than on any assignment I had ever been given. The next day, I stood in front of my fellow students and taught a 30-minute grammar lesson. My classmates gave me a much easier time than they ever gave Mrs. Hynd, but it didn’t matter—I was hooked on teaching. Despite taking a convoluted route, eventually I earned my BEd with a minor in English language arts, and I’ve never regretted that career decision. And to think that it all started with me misbehaving in an English class.
I’m not sure that Mrs. Hynd ever knew the effect she had on me, and her intention might not have been to inspire a future teacher, but as we all know, we never know when what we do as teachers will profoundly change the direction of someone’s life.
So as we head into fall and another school year, I challenge you to think about who inspired you and, in turn, whom you will inspire.