Passionate, caring, learned, focused, stable, visionary , dedicated——— those special people who spend an inordinate amount of time with our children. Some , even most, give all , and , for that, gratitude. The journey is not an easy one.
Let me tell you about these people called teachers : the good and the bad, the lost and the found, the bright and the dull. Like all of us, they come in different flavors, and the good are very, very good and the bad , well, they need to move on !
From my own experience at the high school level , I pretty well nailed the passion and the caring ! It wasn’t particularly easy being the first female principal (and only one so far ) at Franklin County High School. I had to prove myself over and over again and , in many instances, it was necessary to take a hard line . But the passion and caring were always there. When I failed or fell short ( and it happened more times than I care to remember ), it was a loss of focus or a misdirection from the vision, but never, NEVER , from a loss of passion or caring.
I can’t possibly mention all the outstanding teachers that I had the honor of working with for 25+ years. I think back on so many elective teachers who stood strong in their mission to give our kids a boost in what they loved most. And I think of those academic teachers who pushed and pulled and struggled to meet students at their own levels and find success. And the value of support professionals cannot be overlooked : counselors, librarians, para-pros , office staff and others. Some gave some . Most gave what was needed . Many gave all.
Some teachers are well-educated in their fields but the passion is lacking. An example of that was a social studies teacher who walked by my office door on the first day of school each year until he retired and said, ” Only 179 days left !!!!! “. He gave little.
A female teacher came to my office one day to say to me, ” Why don’t you make that physics teacher clean up his messy room ? ” My response, ” When your students are as prepared when they leave your class as his are , come back to see me ! ” Proving my point, one of his students , a cadet who graduated from West Point , wrote home his freshman year : ” I had the highest final grade in my physics class this semester and my professor asked me what I credited that to. My answer : my physics teacher at Franklin County High School in Georgia “. The physics teacher gave all.
But on to the others, many others :
There was the one who reached out to our hearing impaired kids ( and others with special needs ) , offering the support and love that they so badly needed. She gave all.
There was another who appeared in my office on a hot summer day , unexpected and unannounced, explaining that she and her husband had moved from Atlanta to a farm in our area , and she needed a science job. Remarkable teacher who was “Teacher of the Year” , over and over again. She gave all.
There were two who challenged our gifted kids to seek knowledge, look further, listen carefully, question deeply , and never quit following their dreams. They gave all.
There were three ( at least ) who came from other professions . They offered a new world to students because they had ” been there and done that “. They gave all.
And this doesn’t come close to recognizing all the after-school/before-school hours, extracurricular activities, individual student ” counseling “, chaperoning, parent conferences, faculty meetings, state mandates…………..and on and on. Some gave all.
There are many others. Some who gave stability and focus. Some who gave vision and dedication. Some who cared and nurtured . Some who were passionate.
DIVERSITY IN STRENGTHS IS CRITICAL.
And then my assistants during my tenure as principal were amazingly balanced in their thinking and talents. One, in particular, was always up-front and center in his reaching out, the caring part. Another was a visionary, always looking for a better way. Another was focused, concentrating especially on one area that needed attention. And then there was the one who epitomized stability, always dependable and straight up. Such blessings for this woman who lived the passion, but needed the slow-down, the logic, the other side. They gave all ……….
It was a world I loved……….and a little piece of my heart still lies at Franklin County High School .
( I appreciate the comments and the shares, especially to other educators ).
Those years at FCHS were the best and happiest of my entire career! It was a perfect ending to my teaching years.
And you did recognize yourself !!!!!!
Teachers now are expected to not only teach but in many cases perform parenting duties for some of their students. I have extreme respect for teachers- past, present and future. My worry is that our expectations may become unreasonable. Long story short, parents need to wake-up and accept responsibility for their children.
I agree 100% and it is getting worse. I feel that I have seen it all during my tenure. So much lies with the sense of entitlement ( not just government entitlement but personal and individual entitlement ). For too many years, way before I retired, schools were faced with , ” Not MY child. Everybody else’s, but not MY child. The rules don’t apply to MY child ” ! Thanks for your thoughtful input.
Your post brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I believe the Divine led me to Franklin so I could have the best 8 years of my career. You were such an amazing force and gift. Thank you again. Teaching is so much more than a job and I know today it’s even more challenging. Both my sons and my daughter-in- law are in education and I hear about the challenges.
I am so glad that you could locate the blog and read it. You were such a gift to us at the high school, and I do believe that God intervened ! Thank you for all you gave all those many years. Take care and stay in touch occasionally.
I have bookmarked your blog. Again, thank you 💜
And thank you for all you gave.
I am thankful to have graduated from FCHS! I recognize many of the teachers in your blog and many more who taught way more than the state standards. The life lessons I learned then have remained with me throughout my life and guided me on my way. I’m proud to have spent 9 of my 16 years as a teacher, and now as a leader in FC. There is absolutely no other place I’d rather be!
And I cannot tell you how happy it has made me to watch you grow and develop and take your rightful place at the top.
You have followed your heart on every step of your journey, taking the best from all you met along the way , including those teachers who gave all. And now you will pass it forward.
Some Gave All, just as you did Mrs. Toney when I was a student of yours in 1962-63. You gave all in preparing and motivating us for our next step in life. Thanks Mrs. Toney for giving of your all!!
You give me more credit than I deserve. I was young, enthusiastic, and followed my heart. Having just finished at UGA, I was fairly tuned in to the obvious—-which was writing, vocabulary, and strict grading would help along the way. And to have Supt. Osborne say to me, ” Give our kids what they need for the next level, whatever that might be ” was my green light. I loved you and all those WBHS kids who took me on a lifelong journey of passion and compassion for teens. Thank you for remaining my friend———and for keeping the little dictionary all these years.
Diane, with your wise and passionate words, you have said it all! Thank you for very accurately painting word pictures of those who teach. I wish every professor teaching “Education 101” had a copy of your blog to read out loud the first day of class…maybe the teachers-to-be would understand it takes (as my sweet Dad once said to compliment a kind nurse) “educated hearts” to want and try to always give all as often as you can…
Such meaningful observations from one who has accomplished what you did in public education! You have seen it all. Thank you for your kind words. You’ll never truly know what they mean to me. And your daddy was right on. What a great way to describe. I may steal that for future references……….
Good Stuff!!! I totally agree, passion is what it takes to truly make an impact. Yes teaching is a job and a profession and I am constantly in awe of our teachers. I’m not an educator (I couldn’t do it!) and so I admire the work our teachers and administrators do.
Educator or not, you have an impact with clear thinking, careful listening, and unbiased decision-making. Your policies affect every teacher in the system in some way, large or small. I know. I’ve been on the giving and the receiving end. Thank you for your service———and thank you for reading and responding to my thoughts.
I absolutely loved teaching the seven years I was at Franklin County High School. Those were definitely some of the best years of my life, and I can’t imagine a better high school. I am always thankful you gave me the opportunity and the support!
You were truly an asset and offered so much to our students. Win-win for everybody. I value our friendship and our conversations………….
My mother was one of those givers. Oh how she loved those ninth graders. In years befor free lunches she got up early to fix sack lunches for those who couldn’t afford to eat. Evenings she was at the jail if there were ninth graders there. I was amazed, when she died, at all the people that came or wrote about her wonderful teaching and the good lunches she sneaked into their lockers. For fun she put on a scarf and sneaked in the back door of the bowling alley where teachers couldn’t go. Some of her students were pin setters and always kept her secret. She retired after 44 years but never quit teaching anywhere she could.
What lovely memories of your mother and her devotion to teaching. She certainly fits the profile of MANY GAVE ALL. It’s all about passion and compassion. Thank you for sharing.