Monday, January 23, 2012

A Tribute to a Teacher

In high school, I had a favorite teacher. I don't think she was probably everybody's favorite teacher. But, she was mine.

She was my Junior and Senior English teacher, my Speech and Debate coach my Senior year, and my pom pon sponsor. I like to think that my pet peeves about grammatical errors have everything to do with this teacher. She was a stickler for grammar, and taught me well.

Her name was Louise Rhondes, and she passed away this past week.

What made Mrs. Rhodes such a good teacher? PASSION.

Mrs. Rhodes had passion for what she taught. She loved grammar and literature and public speaking. She ate and breathed Speech and Debate. She loved it! Her love for her subjects was always contagious to me. She was bold and had high expectations.

A couple of times over the past couple of years, I have been asked to give the devotional at my childhood church's Mother Daughter Banquet. Mrs. Rhodes and my mom were in the same Methodist women's circle. Mrs. Rhodes loved speaking in front of people, so she had the job of introducing me. I could tell that she was so proud of me. She even told me so. I could tell she took a small amount of credit for the woman I had become. Rightfully so.

I grew up in a small town, so the teachers were typically not the most high-quality. A lot of the teachers were new teachers, or coaches who had to have a class in order to coach. I did have a science teacher who was pretty good. But, for the most part, my high school teachers were a blur. Mrs. Rhodes loved her subject matter and loved teaching it. And I have always held a warm spot in my heart for her and what she instilled in me.

What does this have to do with our homeschool journey? Well, first, I feel like the things that Mrs. Rhodes taught me have helped me to be a better teacher. And, based on her impression on my life as my teacher, I have to ask myself if I have the passion necessary to cause my students to want to learn, to be excited to learn.

Some days I do. Some days I clearly don't. Some days I just try to get through our planner and make sure everything is checked off so that I feel like we have completed all we should. On those days, I would say, my students feel like I did in the majority of the classes I had in high school ... bored, uninspired. But on the days that I throw myself into our subject matters, I can feel my students engaging and enjoying what they are learning. And that means that sometimes we don't get everything on our planner completed.

I want to have the passion that my former teacher had. She was an inspiration to me and I want to be an inspiration to my students, to my children. If I am not going to have the passion for teaching them, then why am I doing it?

How about you? Have you lost your passion?

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Rhodes.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite teachers passed away years ago - it's so sad when a hurting system loses the good ones :(

    When my surroundings aren't cluttered, I have more passion and motivation. Right now I am overwhlemed by mess as I re-vamp our school room. I am hoping to get it finished today and re-capture passion and enthusiasm!


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