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Rant & Rave

By Pamela Lauren Edwards

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Teachers not
given thanks
they deserve

I walk through the halls of my school everyday, witnessing time and again the many instances in which words are left unspoken, necessary words that may be in the hearts of students but are never uttered, words as simple as "thank you" or "I appreciate what you do for me."

These are words that teachers should hear from students on a daily basis, but never do. These are expressions of gratitude for the infinite sacrifices that teachers make for their students daily. Instead, my school corridors are filled with the silence of apathy.

Perhaps now is a good time to explain my incentive for writing this piece. Several months ago, a teacher that I had considered my mentor and friend elected to quit his job due to personal circumstances. I was devastated when I heard the news. Yet, the situation caused me to think about a topic that had never crossed my mind. How often do we, as students, let our teachers know what a significant role they play in our lives? How essential are they in shaping our young minds for the future, and preparing us for the rest of our lives?

Our teachers don't limit their instruction to academics. From them we learn valuable lessons that we will undoubtedly carry with us for the rest of our lives. These lessons assist in the building of character and tolerance, as well as the strengthening of moral integrity, valuable attributes in today's society.

Sadly, I came to the conclusion that teachers are made aware of their importance far too infrequently, not only by their students, but by society.

My former teacher is the perfect example of unacknowledged effort. He provided years of dedicated service to the school, producing one of the best school newspapers in the country, only to be met with limited appreciation.

I may have worked with him for only a short time, but he will remain one of the most significant figures in my life. It was through his guidance and support that I was able to discover my destiny as a writer.

Sadly this teacher is not the only example of unrewarded labor. I know of certain teachers at my school who stay until dusk nearly every day, assisting students with their studies. Some even spend entire weekends at school helping their students prepare for college-level exams. These teachers receive no recognition for the extra time they put in.

Perhaps saddest of all, however, are the many occasions when I witness my fellow students showing disrespect to their teachers, speaking forcefully, using foul language and a vast amount of sarcasm. Often, these students believed their instructors to be responsible for the poor grades they received. What these students failed to realize was that their mediocre grades were the result of laziness, not a lack of proper instruction. Although these students may have been reprimanded, the emotional scars that their rudeness inflicted can never be remedied.

I can't help but wonder whether telling my teacher of my appreciation for his work would have helped him find a reason to stay. Although it is too late to change his mind, I can only hope that this article reaches out to teachers in similar situations, teachers who feel their sacrifices are unrecognized by the people they care about the most, their students.

I hope those teachers will not doubt their worth. For all the times uplifting words are left unsaid, thank you. Thank you for caring about us so much that you continually put our needs before your own. Above all, thank you for helping us become the kind of people we want to be. You deserve all the recognition in the world.

Pamela Lauren Edwards is
a junior at Mid-Pacific Institute.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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