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IN HONOR OF TEACHER APPRECIATIONWEEK Some of My Most Influential Educators
Long before I married a teacher, I had the utmost respect for the work they do. I think my admiration for those in the profession stemmed from my experiences with my own teachers, both the ones in my family and the ones at school. In fact, it wasn’t until I sat down to write this article that I realized the sheer number of educators I have as relatives: My wife, my aunt, sister- in-law, great grandmother, my great-aunt, my great-uncle, and my mother-in-law have served as teachers for various age groups and subjects. Growing up while having the good fortune of seeing their pertinacity and hard work, I’ve been able to understand — at least from a third-party perspective — just how much effort goes in to being a good educator.
organizing field trips to historical locations like Washington D.C. I’m continuously impressed by her ability to manage it all on top of being an amazing wife and mother. Whenever I consider all of Laura’s hard work, I can’t help but remember all the inspiring teachers I had growing up. One sticks out in particular. Coach Kus was my favorite instructor throughout middle school, then he served as my high school cross-country coach. While I felt particularly close to him in those early years, he actually knew who I was long before I met him. Apparently, Coach Kus and my dad played on a softball team together when I was a newborn. In fact, I later learned that there were several instances during games where Coach Kus’ wife would hold me while cheering on her husband and my dad! Due to the great bond my parents shared with Coach Kus and his wife, it seemed I was almost destined to build a great relationship with him, and fortunately, I did. In the four years that he was my coach, Coach Kus served as a mentor for me and all of his other athletes. He was supportive, encouraging, and always helped us strive to do our best. He had this amazing ability to turn our entire cross-country team into its own kind of family.
Even in the years after I graduated, Coach Kus and his wife managed to stay in touch. For example, every summer, they invited their high school athletes to a cross-country camp. They also invited former athletes to help out as assistant coaches. In the week we were there, we all took turns washing dishes and helping out with chores, but his wife took on the responsibility of feeding all of us. Additionally, every year around Christmastime, they host a huge spaghetti dinner for all of their former runners, which, after a couple of decades of coaching, equates to a house filled to the brim with people. This tradition now goes back at least 25 years, and it’s amazing to see that they are still fostering those close relationships with their athletes after all this time. My whole life, I’ve always regarded myself as an intrinsically motivated student. I know that I would have completed all my coursework simply because I wanted to earn a high grade in the class. But having known so many enthusiastic and influential teachers, whether part of my family or not, my relationship with Coach Kus played a vital role in shaping who I’ve become today. As you prepare for Teacher Appreciation Week, I encourage you to reach out to the educators who have made an impact on your life as well!
“Growing up while having the good fortune of seeing their pertinacity and hard work, I’ve been able to understand — at least from a third-party perspective — just howmuch effort goes in to being a good educator.”
Now that I’m married to a great teacher, I’m even more aware of the long hours that go hand in hand with the role. I see how arduously Laura works to keep up with lesson plans and grading as well as
–Kyle Matthews 1 (248) 543-0340janetdaviscleaners.com
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