Teachers that Make a Difference

October 5th is World Teachers’ Day. Take time to thank a teacher in your life or your child’s life for all of their hard work and dedication.

I had some amazing teachers who made a difference in my life. Miss Behrman (5th grade) and Miss Thomas (8th grade) are two that come immediately to mind. They made learning so much fun and made us students feel as though we could do anything we wanted to do.

I still remember the impact they made on me as a young child. Fortunately for me the learning didn’t stop there. Many years later, I served on the YWCA Board of Directors with Marge Behrman. I used to pick her up for night meetings and remember my daughters asking, “Mommy, are we going to pick up the nice, little lady with the red hair again?” Funny, but I didn’t remember her as little! In the 5th grade, I was about 5’ 5” and she was only about 5’ 1” but she always seemed so tall.

Often, she would walk home with some of her North Norwood students that lived close to her house. Since my house was just around the corner, I walked with her a lot. She always walked fast, as if she were going somewhere important. She never talked about school, but would tell us about the roses that grew on her backyard trellis, what she was going to cook for dinner or how important it was to help a neighbor.

I discovered much later that Marge was always going somewhere important. She lived her life to the fullest. She appreciated the small things in life and the most important thing in her life was being a school teacher.  

Ruth Thomas taught science. Students never knew what to expect in her class. She made everything exciting, even the weather! I still can remember how her eyes would crinkle with laughter long before she laughed aloud. Her sense of humor was infectious and her classroom was always filled with a lot of noise. Who knew that kids could learn in such a noisy atmosphere?

One of the hardest things I ever had to do was discipline myself to call these ladies by their first names. They insisted so I obeyed. When I was in my 30’s, I was appointed to serve on the Norwood Board of Education and the first congratulatory phone calls I received were from Marge and Ruth.

They told me how proud they were of my appointment and how confident they were in my abilities to do a good job. Knowing they were proud of me made me feel about ten feet tall. But, in the next breath Ruth said, “We’re going to be watching and will not hesitate to call if you make decisions that don’t benefit our kids.” Wow! They hadn’t taught for years, but still considered the students in the district their kids.

I was blessed to see them often at school events such as the annual district-wide Art Expo, high school musicals or luncheons. They always wanted to know what was happening in my life and my former classmates’ lives; about our families, where we were working and what we were doing with our lives.

At both of their memorial services, the room was packed with former elementary students and teachers they had taught with. All of us laughing and crying together as we remembered the legacy they had left us all; a legacy of encouragement to continue learning and growing. A legacy of helping us to strive to be the very best we could be.

Ending on a Positive Note: Good teachers can awaken a passion in us to learn and grow; to never give up and always be willing to try. Their encouragement can inspire us and help build self-confidence. They have the ability to change our lives.

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About Agnes Spurlock

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts and perspectives about the simple, everyday life. I truly believe that the ordinary days are where we find the real joy in our lives. Make every day count!
This entry was posted in Friendship, Inspirational, Life Lessons, Relationships, Value and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Teachers that Make a Difference

  1. skimhenson says:

    What a wonderful post! It made me wish I had known them. Thanks for the reminder that teachers play such an important role in our lives, when we’re young and when we grow up.

  2. Debbie Davis says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Norwood teachers and the entire school system! Your blog should be submitted to the Norwood Starr newspaper! Our daughters went to North Norwood but Miss Behrman had already retired. But, we were neighbors with her and her brother. We didn’t know them real well, but I remember her walking her dog and working in her yard. She would always say hello when I would walk past her house. I could tell she was a great teacher.

    Our youngest daughter Melissa teaches in Norwood. After 10 years at Sharpsburg, she is at Williams this year teaching 3rd grade. She loves teaching and loves teaching in Norwood. Being a Norwood grad has equipped her to relate to both students and their parents. She had many great teachers in Norwood who did make a difference in her life. Her goal is to be one of those teachers….and I know she is!!

    Thanks again for your words……positive words about Norwood and its people. I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs and posts on FB!!

    • Thanks Debbie. Marge and her brother Don were so proud to live in Norwood. I can’t believe Melissa has been teaching for 10 years. If she loves what she is doing she is already making a difference in kids lives. Kids know when people care!

      Glad you like my blogs. My daughter Sherry has been encouraging me to write one for years. Finally have the time – I’m loving it!

  3. Comments about this post left on Facebook

    Eric Quedens: Agnes, I had Miss Thomas for my home room teacher and a science teacher in the 8th grade. She helped me out when my dad died that year.

    Bob Hollifield: Catherine Morrison was my favorite. Without her teaching and preparation I might not have been able to pass college English. She wasn’t liked by many because she was tough but I sure did appreciate her and went to see her every time I was home.

    Agnes: Miss Morrison was tough, but I loved her and she was one of my favorite high school teachers. Had her for freshman and senior English. We were so fortunate to have teachers like her who gave us such a solid foundation.

    Debbie Downs Snyder: You described Miss Behrman and Miss Thomas to a ‘T’… I remember specific things they taught to this day. Loved Miss Miller and Miss Morrison too, and Mr. Norcross. We were fortunate to have so many great, caring teachers.

    Bob Hollifield: The Norwood School System was the best.

    Ada Kristina Sanford: I LOVED Miss Thomas – my favorite teacher ever.

    Drenda Barber King: I loved Ms. Morrison and credit her with my success in my college English classes. Little did I know I would also appreciate her when I ended up back at Norwood and for some of my career taught English!! Doug really liked Ms. Thomas, she was very instrumental in getting him to the high school!! He kept in touch with her through the years.

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