An ode to teachers and mentors

Students are returning to school this time of year, and I’ve been thinking a lot about teachers and mentors. Specifically, I’m recalling the many wonderful people who guided me on my path over the course of my educational life and beyond. These caring role models not only imparted their knowledge about the subjects they taught, they modeled what it meant to be deeply committed to one’s work. They demonstrated through their actions that they grasped what each of their students needed on a deeper level — the intangible things such as encouragement to lift a sagging self-esteem, a smile, clear boundaries, firm rules from an adult, and so much more. In hindsight, I have no doubt they also knew which students needed lunch money, school supplies, or other basics, and found a way to help them. That’s what teachers do. That’s what teachers have always done.
They educate parents, too. I remember my first private flute teacher guiding my parents through the bewildering process of buying a higher quality flute to play when my skills as a musician surpassed my original student model instrument. Years later, the terrific high school band director sensed I needed specialized guidance for my career path and steered me into a college music program. My teachers and mentors led by example, and I continue to try to emulate the best of them as a teacher and mentor myself.
A friend recently shared his fond recollection of his high school French teacher, who lit up with a big smile when my friend entered the room and trilled his name with great flourish. All these years later, that teacher’s cheerful welcome made such a deep impression that it’s still a cherished part of my friend’s “story” of his school years. I’ll bet you have stories like this, too. To all the wonderful teachers — mine and yours — who were such skilled educators, enthusiastic cheerleaders, role models, and caring mentors, THANK GOODNESS FOR YOU!
And to today’s teachers, who are educating, guiding and grooming the next generation, THANK YOU for ALL you do to make our world a better place one student at a time!

3 comments on “An ode to teachers and mentors

  1. Wally Fletcher on

    Hello Suzane.
    I wakened this morning and tuned to King FM here in Seattle and there you were, memories from many years ago when you first started Sunday (morning?) Baroque at WSHU, Fairfield. I was seeing Lynn Southard at the time and we had wonderful parties and gatherings with the WSHU staff. I did volunteer fundraising over the radio, always a challege but great fun and challenging. You still refer to Sacred Heart University soany years later. (YoYo Ma- incredible). I am so delighted you are doing so well (100 stations nationwide) starting from that little house in the parking lot at SHU.
    Wally Fletcher.
    Vashon Island, WA

    • Suzanne Bona on

      Thank you! How lovely to hear from you! Can you believe Sunday (Morning) Baroque is about to begin its 30th year on the air in two weeks? WSHU and I have been partners in distributing the program nationally since 1998! I am so glad you can hear it on KING FM. Best wishes to you, and thank you for being in touch!!

  2. Tom Malone on

    I’m a teacher. I just retired after 36 years, but I continue to teach half-time. I taught social studies for the first 16 years of my career, but as I’ve done for the past 20 years, I teach ESL now. Thank you for your kind remembrance of teachers.

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