As a first time foster parent to middle school and high school age children, I cannot believe how hard the adjustment to school has been. From the battle of registering our students in the school district (I had to explain to many school nurses & staff about why they had no vaccination record from childhood) to learning how to wake up early and stay up late doing homework, each day has been exhausting.
What has helped a lot in their adjustment to school has been the connection with one dedicated teacher. For our youngest child, he’s made a great connection with his science teacher and for our oldest, it has been the connection with his English teacher that have most changed their attitude towards school. Rather than each morning being a battle to get out of bed, they are (sometimes) excited to go to school.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about adults who made a big difference in my life, especially when I was young. While I was fortunate to have many caring adults in my life, one truly stands out; my 8th grade Biology teacher, Mr. Laird, had an incredible impact in my life. I remember how he treated me as a capable adult, asked tough questions, and held high expectations of me. In his classroom, between frog dissections and rat feedings, he shared stories of his time as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Outside of the classroom, my family traveled with his to various countries where he always modeled great respect for others cultures, people, and places. His teaching not only influenced my own decision to become a Peace Corps volunteer, but shaped my future education choices and instilled a lifelong love of learning. Mr. Laird passed away a few years ago, and I still think about him often, especially as I recognize the impact our boys’ teachers have in their daily lives as well as for the long term.
To all of you who mentor, teach, and guide children, thank you. Thank you for your patience, for your time, and for the lasting impact you have on others.