National Teacher’s Appreciation Week – shouldn’t every week be “Teacher Appreciation Week?”
          If teacher’s jobs were not hard enough the recent acts of violence in schools makes their task even more daunting. Appreciation is the least we should be showing.
          When the subject is teachers most of us start thinking about the teacher or teachers who most influenced our lives.
          In my case that would a plural. My Senior English teacher comes to mind first. She told my mom “Steve will not pass an hour of college English!.
          Al Higgins my Debate Coach challenged me and Mrs. Pitko at Emporia State taught me to write a good business letter.
          But it was Richard Doxtator my sophomore English instructor that really inspired me. He made us do things we didn’t want to do like read Shakespeare and Churchill. Doxstator was borderline rude and hard on athletes, but fair.
          Most important for me in his class was a quote from Winston Churchill that suggested: “Change is the master key.”
          I used that as an excuse or at least qualifier to change jobs some 13 times between finishing college and founding Valu  Line – the Telephone Company in 1982.
          Admittedly I was pretty much taking the great British leader’s words completely out of context, but NOT being afraid to “change” when opportunity knocked worked for me.
          On closer examination, Churchill actually said those words on more than one occasion: Once in the forward to a book about his hobby – painting. And he also said, “Change is the master key. A man can wear out a part of his mind by continually using it and tiring it, just in the same way as he can wear out the elbows of his coat.”
          My conclusion is if I hadn’t heard those words in my sophomore English class and salted them away I might have been stuck in a job I didn’t like because I was afraid to change. Unfortunately, many are.
          Every one of us had experiences in our school days where we learned a lesson that seemed trivial or unimportant at the time that became useful in later years.
          That’s what teachers do – fill our heads with lots of information for us to sift through and decide how and when to use it.
          So, Thank You, Teachers, everywhere for your willingness to educate us all in ways we often didn’t understand.
          And, by the way, I passed 24 hours of college English with a “B” average.
          I’m Steve Sauder and There’s Something to Think About.


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