Monday, June 4, 2007


My daughter's school institute a new program this year. The principal had morning meetings with a small group of parents before school. It was a chance for her to meet informally with everyone, and have a chance for everyone to meet with her. It was a way to find out what was on the mind of the parents.

When I went to my meeting back in the fall I did not really know what to expect. To begin the conversation, she went around the table and had everyone talk about a memory of their elementary school experience. What revealed itself in that process was fascinating. Over and over again someone would talk about that special teacher. That person who saw and encouraged a talent or gift, or nurtured an interest. Someone who saw and encouraged a writer. Someone who nurtured a love for music. Someone who challenged them to do their best.

That special teacher for me was Mrs. Johnson in fourth grade. Mrs. Johnson encouraged my love of drawing. In her class, I loved writing. Somewhere between her class, and later classes I lost my confidence in myself as a writer or an artist. But she saw something in me, and nurtured it. I can't remember any other grade school teacher as clearly as her.

As I sat and listened to each story that morning, and recalled Mrs. Johnson, I could not help but suddenly realize how a teacher who sees us for who we are, and mirrors that back to us, can make a profound difference in our lives. I heard stories of lifes that took a new direction because of a teacher's intervention. Did you have a Mrs. Johnson in your life?

At that meeting I suddenly knew what I wanted for my daughters. A teacher who could mirror back and celebrate the very best in who they are. Having more than one such teacher in our lives is unlikely. But just one can make a difference.

No comments: