"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


30 Days of Gratitude-Day 1- Teachers

While we should always be grateful for what we have, November makes us truly reflect.

 I ask you, what are you grateful for?

Day 1-- I am Grateful for Teachers

The fact that I picked teachers as my first day of gratitude has nothing to do with the fact that I, too, am a teacher. And it has everything to do with it. This is not a 'grateful for myself as a teacher post' but rather a 'grateful for the teachers that shaped my life and made me want to be a teacher and made me love to teach' post.

I had many wonderful teachers. They were more than educators, they taught life lessons. I heard a quote once, "I like a teacher that gives you something to take home and think about besides homework."  Those kinds of teachers are the ones that I am grateful for. Their lessons began with paper and ended with real life. They didn't just teach, they educated. They didn't just suggest, they pushed. They didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk. They nurtured my brain. They fed my soul.

Miss Hemphill was my kindergarten teacher. She was life personified. She made learning exciting. She made a 5 year old want to explore things she had never heard of. She made me want more. She taught me to reach.

Then there was Miss Holler. She had the most beautiful penmanship I (to this day) have ever seen. When she wrote on the board I loved to watch her write and I gobbled up her words as well as her penmanship. She brought art into our classroom before there was art in schools. She read a chapter from a book every. single. day. after lunch. I COULD NOT WAIT. She read classics. She read Nancy Drew. She made me want to read and read and read. She was SO before her time!

Mrs. Culter continued to feed that passion for reading. Our school did not have a library (this was back in the 60's!!!), and Mrs. Culter would go to the Tulsa library and bring back loads of books for us to check out from her. Oh. my. gosh. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It opened up my world.

Mrs. Whaley stressed the importance of numbers and rules. I knew I had to act good in her class because she was my mother's good friend. I knew I had to act good and do well in her class because she expected no less than the best. She taught me never to settle, when the best is what should be given.

Mr. Zimmerman took us outside of the classroom. He did much more than teach us science. He brought science to us. If it could be hands on, then we did it. If it could be taught outside of the classroom walls, then we went. He made science part of our lives. Science was not a mystery. It was life.

Mrs. Tipps furthered that science-is-our-life-theory in high school. I did not always agree with things she said, and for the first time I learned that we are all allowed our own opinion.  We are all allowed our own opinion...with respect given to other opinions as well as our own. She made me want to stand up for my opinion even more, but on the other hand, I learned that it was fine if we did not agree.

Mrs. Mize could not give enough compliments, and praise, and you-can-do-its, and I-like-your-works. She made each student feel like they were the most special student in the class...in a class of 30.

Mrs. Walker taught me to respect Parliamentary Procedure. She taught me that life is not all about 'me'. (Tough lesson at the age of 13.) She managed to teach a lot of us that lesson.....along with math. Wow. She had her hands full!!

Then there were teachers that I never had and just observed.
 Mrs. O'Kief taught me about graciousness and love. I never had her and none of my children ever had her, but I have seen her loving and giving nature personified over and over and over again. If she was in your life, she touched it. She left a mark.

Mrs. Dillard (Davis) taught me that you should look your best each day. The students that had her as a teacher not only got her gracious spirit, but they had eye-candy to look at each day as well. She showed me that if students are 'stuck' with a teacher for an hour. or two. or six per day, then they need to enjoy what they see. Mrs. Dillard (Davis) dressed to the nines each and every day. It did not matter that most days she dealt with smelly-coughing-germ filled students, she dressed like she was going to a fashion show. Her students were that important. She taught me respect for myself...and others... by example.

Then there are English teachers that I have taught with. They taught me that we can never ever, ever, ever, ever quit learning. We learn more from our students than we ever give to them.  Rita and Darlene and Stephanie were there to brainstorm, to pick from their ideas, to offer support, or lessons, or games. They taught me there is much more to high school than English class. They taught me that the stories we teach are nothing compared to the lives we reach. They taught me that every single day is important. They taught me that every single student is worthy of my effort.

For all my teachers and professors I am grateful beyond words. For the teachers around the nation that are in the classrooms each day, I am grateful. For the teachers that are able to turn dust into gold, I am grateful. Our future depends on each of you. 


  1. Jana Annett11/01/2010

    Loved reading this, Lori! Brought back so many memories for me as well. I have many times thought about so many of the teachers you mentioned and what they meant in my life. I remember taking field trips with Mr. Zimmerman to Hallett to learn about grafting 2 different trees together or digging for chroniods to learn about the sea floor tens of thousands of years ago.

    These educators (you included) will be doubly-blessed for what they have given to so many lives! Jana Annett

  2. Kudos to you! Well....maybe I'm a just a liiiittle biased! lol! My husband is a retired high school educator and I worked in a high school guidance office for 21 years. We loved our job, the kids, and the educators we worked with! Thanks for the recognition! :)

    xoxo laurie


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