My son sent me an e-mail from Williams College the other day. In the message, he shared that he went to the Rare Books Library on campus and took out a copy ofPhilosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica written by Sir Isaac Newton. This is the text in which Newton came up with his laws of motion and gravity, the orbits of the planets, and so much more. This edition was from the 1700s. My son was amazed to have this famous work in his hands. It may have been an original copy. I imagine he was awe-struck.
I would have been.
The desire to connect with someone else – someone more important than ourselves is a very real human phenomenon.
In the world of education, those important people, of course, are the teachers.
Teachers are the grown-ups who make a difference. These are the “big” people who bring joy, happiness, and love to children. Teachers are the adults who share knowledge and the love of learning with others. They are true heroes.
Throughout the school year, children actually want “autographs,” from their teachers. These autographs are the simple words that teachers leave on the tops of papers or through other means. Sometimes the “autograph” students want most is a sticker or a smiley face. Or a just a smile. These are well-earned tokens that denote approval and achievement.
Words like, “Great Job” and “I am proud of you” (written or otherwise) are treasured in the hearts of the children. These words affirm the work the child does – and like hand prints on sidewalks, relics, or autographs, they bring the child closer to the person they admire – their teacher.
I sometimes sit in awe of the tremendous power a teacher possesses – the tremendous impact that a teacher has on a child’s self-image now – and in the future. A teacher can use his autograph, the imprint he leaves on a child, to change a life. The positive words teachers leave inspire children to work harder, to give more, and to always strive to be their better selves.
Although they might not have the cash value of an item in a collector’s shop, I honestly believe that the words, “You did great! I am proud of you. Love – Your Teacher,” will always be more valuable than any historical relic. Significantly more valuable.
Teachers can be the biggest heroes of them all. When they do the job correctly, when they give of themselves, when they use their role to inspire and motivate children, teachers are greater than than Sir Isaac Newton. And that says a lot!
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.