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Lessons in Learning
Thank a Teacher This Month
This month, I’m going to recommend doing something that doesn’t happen enough. In honor of National Teachers Day, I encourage you to reach out to some of your old teachers or mentors who have made a positive impact in your life. Educators play such important roles in our lives and are often overworked and underpaid. Trust me when I say that reaching out with even a simple thank-you can mean the world to them. I did this recently with my old junior high teacher, Mr. Spencer. He taught me while I was in Saudi Arabia, and I credit him with helping me become a lifelong learner. You see, Mr. Spencer was all about making class interesting. He had all sorts of props and hands-on learning materials in the classroom, as well as a pet viper. Needless to say, there was never a dull moment in his classes. That may well have been the most important lesson Mr. Spencer taught me. Learning isn’t about memorizing a litany of facts so you can pass a test, and knowledge can’t be measured by a grade-point average. To really learn, you have to be excited by and curious about the wider world. That’s why I decided to seek out Mr. Spencer over Facebook and thank him. When it came to showing his students the joy of learning, he always went the extra mile. Teachers can have an impact beyond what is traditionally thought of as education. Some can become real role models, keeping their students on the straight and narrow during a critical point in their lives. I was lucky enough to have such a mentor during my high school years: Mr. Ward.
Mr. Ward was a French teacher, and I took three classes with him before I graduated. While my ability to speak the language didn’t stick, his lessons about self-discipline and responsibility certainly did. Students have plenty of distractions in high school, and there’s no shortage of opportunities for them to get into trouble. To make matters worse, teens aren’t exactly the best at talking to their parents during these junctures, making teachers like Mr. Ward vitally important. He was always there to listen, and he went out of his way to keep me and other students actively involved in extracurricular activities. As a fellow Christian, Mr. Ward also encouraged me to join Young Life. These activities helped keep me connected to my faith and my morals at a time when I definitely could have swerved away. The ability for teachers to recognize these nonscholastic struggles
and lend a hand where they can is the mark of a true mentor. I’m still friends with Mr. Ward to this day, only now I call him Jim. I’m incredibly lucky to have had such caring teachers in my life. Without the love of learning and self- discipline they taught me, I certainly would not be where I am today. If you have such a teacher or mentor in your life, please consider reaching out to them. Summoning the energy and dedication it takes to make a difference in students’lives takes a deeply held conviction that teaching makes the world a better place. Taking the time to reach out and thank these amazing individuals is the perfect way to show them that conviction was the right one.
Here’s to all the educators,
Alex R. Hernandez Jr.
“Learning isn’t about memorizing a litany of facts so you can pass a test, and knowledge can’t be measured by a grade-point average.”
1-888-HDZ-LAW-8 | 1www.alexhernandeztriallaw.com
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