Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Ultimate

I love seeing my name in print. It's the ultimate! And this time, it's literally THE ULTIMATE - THE ULTIMATE TEACHER.

We've all had good teachers. And, we've all had bad teachers. Some of us have been lucky enough to have had teachers who have changed our lives. I had a teacher like that - Mr. Everson, my seventh grade geography teacher. As the title of my essay says, he meant the world to me.

I grew up in a factory town in Illinois. Dad worked in the factory, Mom worked in the grocery store. It was a beautiful little town - a river divided the town between East and West. Those of us on the East Side were the factory kids. Those on the West Side were the doctor and lawyer kids. There was always a rivalry between the two sides of the river. Those of us on the East Side all passed through Mr. Everson's classroom. We were the winners in Aurora.

You see, we might not have been the richest kids in town but Mr. Everson gave us the world every day in his classroom. He taught us about places we could only dream of visiting - the places the kids on the other side of the river went to without a second though, without appreciating.

He inspired us to learn all we could about our city, our state, our country, our continent, and ultimately, our world. He had been so many places and done so many things. He made us believe that we could go to those places and do those things, too!

He's not the only hero in my story. My Mom and Dad made sure that the dreams he planted grew into real experiences. When I'd come home with a sparkle in my eyes, all excited about somewhere we'd talked about in class, we'd add it to our travel itinerary for the future. We've visited many of those places he taught about so many years ago. And, we continue to travel as a family at least once a year still, working on that list.

What teacher made a difference in your life? Have you ever thanked them? It's not too late! I wrote Mr. E a letter a few years ago. We've been in touch ever since, sharing postcards from our travels. It was one of the best things I've ever written. It has certainly provided a lot of fun and interesting correspondence over the last few years!

National Teacher Appreciation Day is May 5th. Drop your favorite teacher a note and thank them for what they meant to you all those years ago. Maybe you'll even want to send them a copy of The Ultimate Teacher.

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