October 5 is officially National Teachers Day but if you can read this, every day is cause to celebrate these amazing people who give their lives and talents to open the world to/for us. When I was growing up, I was pretty sure teachers were superhuman – now I know it for a fact!
Some of my favorite teachers are still around and I cherish them and the lessons they taught and live by. They are tremendous role models and their great expectations gently remind me not to take short cuts, to aim high, stand tall, be proud but humble, and to always give and do my best. They insisted I stop my incessant talking, turn around in my seat, pay attention, and mind my own business—still good advice. They invested their lives into us and we are absolutely the better for it.
I taught at the collegiate level for sixteen and a half years and the first day I walked into my classroom I knew I had found my calling. I adored my students and I’d make them a deal on the first day: when you graduate, I owe you lunch. This was my incentive to keep them in school to graduate. The other part of the deal was when they became rich and famous, they owed me lunch. I smiled all over when two of them told me they weren’t rich and famous yet, but they were taking me to lunch anyway because they were going to be. Almost every semester someone came by and redeemed their meal and they could choose any place – the only caveat was they had to literally take me with them. Whether it was a ride in Craig’s 1955 Ford with flames down the side and Thai food, every lunch was an adventure and precious.
I love it when my former students call, drop by or send a note. They often tell me that they loved my life lessons about as much as they did the subject matter ones they paid for. Whenever they get in touch, it makes my day. I don’t ever know what the occasion is but like clockwork, Brett, one of my favorite students from 1997, will have a tin of Mrs. Fields cookies sent to brighten my day and fill my insatiable desire for cookies. This year his mushy note was so sweet—it said “It’s been 20 years and I still remember the lessons.” PRICELESS!!!
Here’s your assignment: stop what you’re doing now and call, send a note, invitation to lunch, warm cookies—it doesn’t matter—in honor of National Teachers Day. Just be in touch and say thank you for the memories and for believing in me.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.