Today, October 5, is World Teachers Day-- a day intended to celebrate the teachers in our lives and all over the world.
Teachers do so much for us. Not only do they educate, but they help students explore and expand their interests. They advocate for their students, they use what resources they have to make what they teach engaging for their students, and they show up for their students. They encourage and support where and when they can, the best they can. They are community leaders, cheerleaders, and role models, and they want the best for their students, for their classroom, and for their communities. The last year has especially proven the resilience of teachers, and their ability to show up for their students.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without the teachers in my life.
My grandmother, Barbara Livingston, was a special education teacher, starting in the mid 1960s and continuing into the early 2000s. She wrote a manual on dyslexia that was used in the New York City public school system for a very long time. She was wildly intelligent, and she used her knowledge to teach in New York City and give students the tools to grow.
My sister, Carly, is currently a special education teacher in Massachusetts, just like my grandmother was in New York. She started teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, and taught her first class over Zoom. With her energy, creativity, and knowledge, she showed up for her students even on the toughest days. Her compassion and care for her students comes through in every aspect of what she does. Now she teaches in person, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
My 7th and 8th grade English teacher, Ms. Powers, was one of the first teachers that made me feel seen. She encouraged me in my writing, assisted me with extracurricular projects, wrote me recommendation letters, and kept in contact with me throughout high school and college. I looked to her as a role model, and even sometimes as a sort of parent when I needed one. She cheered me on even when I wasn’t one of her students, and I always feel the gentle need to make her proud.
When I was in college, one of my first professors was a woman named Jaime. Jaime was a professor in my major who made me feel supported in the classroom and taught me a lot about creative writing and women in writing. She encouraged me in my professional endeavors, writing, and internships, and I knew that with her, I always had a safe place to talk about my feelings and someone who would advocate for me. I ended my undergraduate career in one of her classes as well, and it felt very full circle.
There are so many other teachers I’ve had that have inspired me, advocated for me, and encouraged me to grow. Whether they’re my family members, who put their classrooms and students before themselves more often than not, and who always stood/stand up for what’s right, or teachers at school I took classes with in middle/high school and college, who helped me grow as a person and as a professional and expand my interests while still maintaining my sense of self. They’ve taught me so much and helped me become the best version of me. And for that I am forever grateful.
Happy World Teachers Day! Thank you teachers, for all that you do.