From the editor: Who is your favorite teacher?
As I write this, we’re in the midst of the Oklahoma teacher walkout.
Who is your favorite teacher?
That’s a simple answer for me: my mom.
As I write this, we’re in the midst of the Oklahoma teacher walkout. Like many Oklahomans recently flooded with school-day memories, I have been reminded of the men and women who led my classrooms. The walkout is a monumental event for our state, and one I hope resolves some of the issues we face when it comes to education funding and giving educators and support personnel the respect they deserve.
My mom was and still is a great teacher. She spent 40 years leading a Tulsa Public Schools classroom. As her child, I’m still learning from her every day.
Today, she’s teaching me how to be an adult — something I’m still working on at age 36. I hope to one day nail her spaghetti sauce recipe. Her resiliency, resounding faith and belief that everything will be OK is something I try and remember daily.
When I was a kid, she patiently taught me to ride my bike. Countless hours were spent with arithmetic. She consoled me when I had a breakdown over the fact that my papier mache Great Barrier Reef looked nothing like the pictures. I know, shocking.
She taught her students all day, then came home and helped me.
And, that’s not taking into account the fact that besides her students at school, she tutored multiple students who were homebound. By the time we got home, it was usually a 12-hour day. There were many times I did homework while waiting for her to pick me up or sat in the car as she was inside tutoring.
And summers off? Please. That just gave her more time to work at her second and third jobs. She has been a census worker. We’ve gone door-to-door hanging pizza coupons. She has worked a deli counter.
My mom is the hardest-working person I have ever known.
She did all of this to give my sister and me the best of what she could, including sending me to college without student loans.
My mom matriculated at a time when most women had three options: secretary, teacher or nurse. But, there’s no doubt in my mind that my mom was born to be a teacher. That was affirmed a few years ago when I saw Andre, one of her former students. Even though I first met him 25 years ago, he’s someone I’ve never been able to forget. I re-introduced myself to him when I saw him working at Goodwill. His face lit up when I said I was Mrs. Powell’s daughter. The smiles on both our faces were electric.
To all my favorite school teachers, you might know who you are.
Miss Scalet, thank you for always making the shy redhead feel important.
Mr. Dixon, I promise to practice the piano more.
Thank you to Mrs. Strakoulas, who consoled us worried seventh graders when news broke of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Mrs. Heim, your art classes and instruction will always be my favorite form of expression.
Mr. Theban, you are sorely missed.
Please, one more Russian history story, Mr. Walters.
Mom, thank you, for literally everything.