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Book Review: ‘Teacher’ a reminder as students return to class

You can read!

What a wonderful thing! You can write, too. Math skills come easily, you live with science, history is a passion of yours – and those are all skills that you weren’t born with. No, somebody had to teach you, and in the new book “Thank You, Teacher,” edited by Holly &Bruce Holbert, you’ll see where to send your appreciation.

Holly Holbert believed that there are a lot of teachers that “no one hears about.” Few know the personal and financial sacrifices of teaching, the work or the heartbreak. It was time to remedy that so Holbert and her husband Bruce, a teacher, asked people from all industries about the educators who impacted their lives.

Teachers, said Maya Angelou, give children their voices – even if, according to chef Daisy Martinez, the voice is in another language. Says rocker Gene Simmons, teachers instill self-esteem. Author Chris Offutt writes about libraries, learning, and payback. Says political economist Robert Reich, just one teacher can inspire for a lifetime.

Adolescence is hard, and teachers know that. At that time in a kids’ life, a teacher can be a silent crush, a stoic rock, or a fearsome adult who, says author Derek Alger, probably is “by no means a tyrant,” but who demands discipline anyhow. Teachers make uncanny predictions about their students, and they celebrate student successes. They know when it’s time for nose-to-the-grindstone behavior, and when it’s time to admit that there are things they don’t know.

By high school, teachers see adult potential in their kids. They know how to guide a student with natural talents. They know how to keep school fun without losing control. They listen, and they know the skills life demands. As you’ll see in this book, teachers can surprise their students – sometimes, many years after graduation. Some teachers are called “Mom” instead of Missus….. and some are even now called “friend.”

What teachers most inspired you?

I’ll bet that without a whole lot of trouble, you can name at least two of your own, or perhaps your child’s teacher. Without a doubt, he or she has made a huge difference in your life, and giving “Thank You, Teacher” is a great way to show you’re grateful.

Editors Holly &Bruce Holbert collected a wide-ranging group of people from all walks of life, and asked them to tell their stories. Some tales are heartfelt, some are funny, a few of them come with surprises, and all are tied to memories of something a teacher did to impact a young life. Readers will be happy to see that those tales range from grade school to college, proving that you’re never too old to learn from someone who cares.

If you’re a student or about to be one, remember this title; you’ll want it for later in the year, at gift-time. If you are an educator, you’ll want to keep this around for those challenging days. And if you just want something that’ll make you smile, “Thank You, Teacher” is a book you can read.

■ ■ ■

If you’re a teacher, you might also want to look for “I Wish My Teacher Knew” by Kyle Schwartz. Based on the viral video, this is the story of what a group of third-grade students taught their teacher when they were asked to fill in a very innocent blank: they answered with tough, not-so-innocent words. This book could change your career. Look for it.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in Wisconsin.

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