Wisper Internet Salutes Teachers Past and Present

teaching in a virtual classroom, teacher appreciation

Do you have a favorite teacher? Not just the cool teacher everyone liked, but a teacher who played a key role in your life. This could be a teacher from grade school, junior high, high school, or even college. Now the real question…Have you ever thanked them?

I’m lucky enough to have two teachers like this in my life. They both took a special interest in me and put me on the right path for my future career and life in general.

If you’ve read any of these blogs, you know I’m from a small town and obviously went to small schools in my community. On a side note, because of the small community, I was in preschool at the local library through high school graduation with the same people (an aspect I cherish). Now, our kids are in school together and it’s always a treat to see each other at sporting events or other school-related gatherings and events to share memories of growing up and the awkward teen years.

I first heard about my favorite teacher Mrs. A when I was in junior high. She taught history, geography, and maybe a few other courses. Her room was in the lower hallway at my school, and she had been a LEGEND for years, meaning everyone, especially lowly junior high kids, was terrified of her.

In addition to fears of being stuffed into lockers and actually speaking to a cute girl, the pressure of making it down the lower hallway without Mrs. A yelling at us caused beads of sweat to form on the foreheads of even the coolest upper-classmen. Junior high kids had no chance of survival.

Now, obviously, she wasn’t just sitting by her door waiting to prey on unsuspecting children who wander by and get caught in her evil web. She was teaching her classes (and she did not mess around) and if she had to reprimand a student in the lower hallway, they absolutely deserved it. Side note: I was always innocent…weird.

Registering as a freshman, the inevitable happened. I had Mrs. A for history and the stomach-churning began weeks before the start of school. Another aspect of the small school (that I did not cherish) was our buildings didn’t have air conditioning until the early 2000s. So, in the early 1990s when we got to pick our seats on the first day of school, we all wanted to sit by the windows to get at least a refreshing breeze of air coming in to break the soupy humidity inside the classrooms.

We began the semester learning how to take detailed notes on her lectures. This didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but put a pin in this point for later. We all just knew we hated it.

As with any class, bonds began to be formed between Mrs. A and a few of us sitting together in her class. Myself and my best buddies Scott and Shelly all seemed to click with Mrs. A. Don’t get me wrong, we were by no means teacher’s pets. She was just as tough, or even tougher on us as everyone else in the class and expected even more because she saw our potential. Mutual respect formed and as a 13-year-old kid, that felt great and was never forgotten.

I ended up having Mrs. A for history classes three years in a row (different classes, I didn’t flunk) and sat in my same window seat as a Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior. Looking back, I should have taken one of her advanced history classes as a senior, but I took home economics instead. Needless to say, Mrs. A was more than disappointed, but “senior-itis” is a thing. Besides, I’ll never need to take notes in my future career (newspaper reporter), or type words on a keyboard (I cheated my way through high school typing class. Sorry Mrs. T).

While I was in high school, I always spoke highly of and defended Mrs. A to my classmates and they blew it off, called her mean and too tough (they may have just been jealous). This was when I realized they hadn’t given her the respect she deserved and realized her main purpose in the lower hallway every day was to make us better people and prepare us for the outside world.

I literally have tears in my eyes as I type this thinking about the life lessons I learned from Mrs. A during my four years of high school. If I was having a bad day, I could go to her for comfort and advice. She was always there. She did not sugarcoat things and there was a lot of tough love. When we were not being good people, she told us. We always knew she was genuine, she cared and was there if we needed her for anything from life advice to a hall pass when we were tardy.

A few years after I graduated from college, I volunteered to help the drama club (which Mrs. A was the long-time sponsor) with the annual spring play. As I was working on my tasks, I watched Mrs. A interact with the kids and could see myself 10 years prior in their same shoes learning to be a “person” with the help of this great lady. She hadn’t changed a bit. Firm, fair, and with their best interests at heart.

During one of those rehearsals, she and I had a moment to chat sitting on the side of the stage, and (just like now) with tears in my eyes I got to thank Mrs. A for everything she had done for me and most of all thank her. Then, much to my surprise, I saw a tear run down her cheek. She just smiled and walked over to a group of kids and kept on doing for them what she had always done for me.

We celebrate teachers during their own appreciation week each year, but that’s not near enough. They certainly deserve more. Teachers are the people who spend more time with our kids than anyone but their families. Unfortunately, for some kiddos their hours at school, maybe the best part of their day.

Now, let’s throw in the pandemic and the already tough role of teachers became even more uncertain and challenging. With some school districts going full remote and others hybrid, the need for reliable internet was thrown into the ever-increasing toolbox teachers needed to get their job done and connect with their students.

Wisper was there in many of the communities whose families, schools, and teachers were thrust into the unknown and what soon became the new normal. When I was in school 30 years ago, we only had two computers in the entire building that were connected to the internet. Now, every kid has their own laptop.

I’ve said all that to say this. If you have a teacher who has made an impact in your life, thank them! If you are parents or grandparents, this can be extended to your kids’ or grandkids’ teachers. Teachers care about our kids, and they are special people doing great work.

Wisper thanks all the teachers for everything you do, seen and unseen.