Sharon Randall: Thank a teacher

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 28, 2016

It’s that time again. Another school year is ending.

Students will say goodbye to a chapter of their lives. Teachers will breathe a sigh of relief. And parents will mourn the passage of another milestone, and pray for strength to survive until the kids go back to school.

My end-of-school tradition (like counting my blessings at Thanksgiving or stealing Peeps from my kids’ baskets at Easter) is to say “thank you” to teachers — to all teachers everywhere, but to some more than others.

I start by making a mental list of my favorites — mine and my children’s and grandchildren’s.

It’s a long list, growing longer, and it varies from year to year. Gratitude is often shaped by life’s stages and changes. I have favorites for different reasons at different times and seasons.

Topping the list, of course, are two of my children who are, like their late father, great teachers. I wish you could see them.

OK, here’s the rest:

1. My teacher in second grade. I was new at the school and not happy about it. But every day she would light me up with her smile and her kind words.

She also bought my lunch on the sly when I couldn’t pay for it, dried my feet with a towel when I got wet in the rain and made me believe I was smart.

2. My high school English teacher, who gave me an A+ for my essay on “The Secret of Happiness” and told me I was a writer. I didn’t know what “writer” meant. Actually, I still don’t. But he seemed pretty sure about it and I believed him.

3. My college history professor. He taught me that if you want people to remember what you say, tell them a story and make it a good one. I’m also thankful in a different way for a civics professor, who fell asleep in his own lectures. He taught me not to speak in a monotone in an overheated room after lunch.

4. Sunday school teachers, who taught me hard-to-grasp concepts like forgiveness and grace — and to never pretend to know Bible verses or anything else you don’t really know.

5. Friends who aren’t officially teachers, but have taught me plenty in the school of life.

6. Friends who taught high school with my first husband. I never sat in their classes, but they helped me by their example  to be a better person and stood by me and my children through his illness and death. There is no finer teacher than that.

7. A kindergarten teacher, who was a favorite with my children, though only one of them was ever in his class. We taught Sunday school together, he and I, for a bunch of 12-year-old boys. Talk about an education.

8. A middle school English teacher who made reading and writing fun for my kids, and parent conferences something I could look forward to.

9. High school teachers who never once called me to complain about my kids. They just walked down the hall and complained to the kids’ dad.

10. College professors who helped my children find their callings — one to acting, two to teaching, all where they belong.

11. Preschool teachers who for little people like my grandson, Henry, and my husband’s granddaughter, Charlotte, are the next best thing to staying home with their moms and their dads and their dogs.

12. And finally, the kindergarten teacher, bless her, who has given my grandson Randy a grand first year of school.

I owe them all a huge thanks. I’d like to write thank-you notes. But I’ll probably just thank them in my heart. Does that count?

What about you? Who are your favorites? I hope you and your loved ones know teachers who not only teach, but make children smile and tell them they’re good at something and help them find their calling.

I hope you’ll thank them, if only in your heart. While you’re at it, give them my thanks, too.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or on her website: