Today is the Friday of Teacher Appreciation Week. Usually during this week, I choose at least a teacher a day and thank them in some way, be it a gift, a note, a meal, or some other way I can show appreciation. So why on earth has it taken me until Friday to do anything at all this week? As I continue to hang out at work with those I affectionately call “edufolk,” (read M.Ed., Ed.D., Ph.D. in Education) I find myself thinking a great deal about myself as a teacher and learner, others as teachers and learners, and teaching and learning in general. One of the realizations I have come to is that I believe that just about every interaction is an opportunity for learning. This also means that just about everyone has an opportunity to be a teacher. I not only want to learn from my students, I expect it. I learn from my children all the time. I learn from their teachers. I learn from my colleagues, my friends, my family, and my own former and current teachers. It would seem, then, that I have entirely too many people to thank. I am indeed appreciative of all the wondrous learning connections I have! That being said, it is also important not to belittle the title of “Teacher.” The capital “T” there is intentional. These are people who have purposely chosen to be conscious in this act of stimulating our minds with new knowledge and perspective. These are people who have dedicated their careers to that process. These are people from whom we likely learn far more than the subject matter at hand. Two current Teachers come immediately to mind. Dr. Dace Svikis, who was not only my post-doc mentor, but also modeled compassion and positivity beyond what I had experienced, I thank you. Grandmaster Phuong, who not only teaches my family martial arts, but also models discipline, kindness, and the Tenets of Taekwondo, I thank you and all of the Koryo family. It is also graduation day for the VCU School of Pharmacy Class of 2015. I have learned a great deal in the time I spent with you both in the classroom and on social media, formally and informally, and for that I am appreciative. It was with the Class of 2015 that I reimagined a course sequence, tried some things out (some worked, some did not, of course), and embarked on a new path in my own career. Thank you for all you have taught me.
This may be the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week 2015, but gratitude for those who Teach us (and also teach us) is not limited to one week. Thank someone for teaching you something. Teach someone something. And absolutely think about a “capital-T Teacher” in your life and let them know what they mean to you.