In Others’ Words: Ignite!

Education is not

It’s back to school time, friends.

Not for me … no, no, no.

But it is back to school for my youngest daughter — who is a junior in high school — and a gazillion other people, of course. My daughter is finishing up her required summer reading. (Three books. And papers.) And we’re also doing all the necessary prep. Shopping. Filling out school forms. Her sports physical is done. And we’ll be doing more shopping. There’s always more shopping, right? Tomorrow, while she’s at a volleyball tournament, I’ll be at the high school’s registration day, which includes getting her a parking permit. A p-a-r-k-i-n-g p-e-r-m-i-t because, yes,  she’s driving now.

Some of you … maybe a lot of you … are in the throes of your own back to school prep. Public school. Private school. Homeschool. Charter school. College. Whatever. It is about our children’s education. And if you’re like me, you don’t want your children treated like buckets. You don’t want teachers just tossing information — facts and statistics and stuff, stuff, stuff — at our sons and daughters day in and day out from August to May (or all year round, if you participate in year round school).

My desire is for teachers to be a catalyst in my daughter’s life — to ignite a fire in my daughter’s heart, as Yeats said. For her teachers to help her discover her passion — who God has created her to be. I value teachers — and I especially appreciate the ones who recognize the tremendous influence they have on their students. Don’t misunderstand me: I don’t hand over all responsibility to teachers to instruct, influence, and mold my daughter — or any of my children. But I understand the long reaching value of a good education.

In Your Words: I would love you to join the conversation today and share a memory of a teacher who lit a fire in you — helping you grow, discover your passion, or your direction in life.



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  1. August 3, 2017, 12:08 am   /  Reply

    I lit a fire under a teacher’s chair…does that count?

    He had been lecturing from a sitting position for too long, so we decided to shift him. The REAL fun was the fire bottle I’d secreted. Talk about acting in whiteface.

    • August 3, 2017, 6:23 am   /  Reply

      Oh,Andrew. What a way to start today’s conversation! 🙂

  2. August 3, 2017, 8:43 am   /  Reply

    I’m a teacher today, still loving it, because of some amazing teachers who greatly invested in and inspired me. None of them have any idea of what a vast difference they made and I’m thrilled to see some students learn from me to go on to become effective, inspired teachers themselves. So grateful–they and these years have made all the difference.

    • August 3, 2017, 10:49 am   /  Reply

      Dee: Teachers ignited a fire in you to teach, and you continue to do the same. How beautiful is that? 🙂

  3. August 3, 2017, 8:45 am   /  Reply

    My Third Grade teacher created a special art class for those of us who loved art. She taught us perspective, shading, elementary figure drawing. She let me erase the black board after school, so I learned twice! Wonderful Mrs. Street, I have never forgotten you.

    • August 3, 2017, 10:51 am   /  Reply

      Robyn: What a wonderful teacher. She must have loved art herself … and had a heart to encourage (ignite) that passion in students like you. 🙂

  4. August 3, 2017, 8:57 am   /  Reply

    I was fortunate enough to have several teachers who encouraged me but I suppose the one who really “lit my fire” was my 6th-grade teacher. She had some radical ideas for the time: a Medieval Faire, and a school newspaper. She even allowed us to work in the library and have small groups of younger students to tutor during class time. The freedom and responsibility she allowed taught me so much more than social studies and “language arts.”

    • August 3, 2017, 10:52 am   /  Reply

      Angie: I love how that teacher taught you the importance of so many things — but especially the idea of tutoring others. Giving back. Helping others. It’s something I see you doing today — carrying on what that teacher taught you back in 6th grade.

  5. Bernadette DesChamps
    August 3, 2017, 10:33 am   /  Reply

    My love of words was solidified by high school English teacher extraordinaire, Millie Thompson. From taking us to the sights, smells, and deeper meanings of classic literature, to a vocab lesson on “reek” where she walked us through discovering putrid, rotting potatoes under her sink, to diagramming sentences (which I loved), memorizing Hamlet’s soliloquy, and writing essay upon essay… her influence is evident every time I see the story behind the story, recognize a literary allusion, or can’t shake the desire to write.

    The fire was already smoldering from years of reading, but with her passionate investment, I knew it was my fire.

    • August 3, 2017, 10:55 am   /  Reply

      Millie Thompson does indeed sound like an extraordinary teacher, Bernadette! I would have love to have met her. But in a way, I have — through you and your writing. 🙂

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