I'm not going to get all preachy on you but here's the deal; teachers are awesome.
They help mold our young minds, and the really good ones leave a lasting impression that you'll never forget.
My favourite teachers on the planet were Mr. Sainchuk and Mr. Cherry.
Mr.Sainchuk was my high school English teacher and made each and every class hilarious, entertaining AND educational. Not many teachers can do all 3.
Mr.Cherry was my high school math teacher. (**CONFESSION: Math is my Achilles heel. I actually ended up taking Math 33 THREE TIMES!!! This is not something I'm proud of. Insisted on pissing around and not taking the course seriously while in high school. I flunked out the first time, and barely squeaked by the second time. When I decided to go to broadcasting school... SURPRISE!!! They wanted me to have a decent math mark.
I had to take the course all over again.
I've never met a person more passionate about mathematics. He was this crusty, thin, tiny little old man with over sized glasses and greying teeth. He also had a habit of spitting on the chalkboard or overhead projector when he spoke. He had these really faded old jeans he'd faithfully wear once a week that had the pythagoras theorem written on them in permanent marker:
Mr.Cherry was so dedicated to helping me kick ass in the course, that he gave me his home number to call him whenever I needed help on an assignment. I took full advantage of this and would call him, sometimes several times in one evening, complaining and completely frustrated over a math problem. **Dear GAD I hate math!!!**
Mr.Cherry would always patiently guide me through the problem until the flashbulb in my brain went off.
I'll tell you now that I was terrified when I wrote my diploma exam.
My entry into broadcasting school depended COMPLETELY on the outcome of my math mark. If it was below 78%, it would drag my entire average down and kill any hopes of getting into the radio & TV program that year.
I still remember the day the diploma exam marks were posted. I went to the school with my mom in tow. I was afraid that I'd need her support when I saw the mark (what can I say? I'm a bit of a pessimist sometimes :P).
I walked to the concrete wall where the sheet of paper with all the final marks had been posted. I looked up my student ID number and my jaw fell to the floor. 96%?????
No. This isn't possible.
I had to check it again and again and then one more time. When it finally sank it, I literally began to cry. I was never more proud of myself than at that very moment... and I couldn't have done it without Mr.Cherry.
I ended up buying him a gift that I was sure he would love.
I bought a stainless steel travel mug and had the following engraved on it:
The 8th Wonder Of The World:
On my last day of class, I gave him the mug, a massive hug and a million thank you's for all his help.
Many years have passed and I know that now, Mr.Cherry is now spitting on the chalk boards and overhead projectors in heaven, singing the praises of pythagoras theorem while wearing his sharpie covered, faded jeans.
So where am I going with this?
My sister is a teacher, and so are a few of my friends. These people are so dedicated to what they do, and just want to make a difference. The want smaller class sizes, more assistance and better pay.
I can tell you that being a teacher is one of the most underrated and thankless jobs, but every once in a while, a teacher will come across a student (and vice versa) who helps to change their life forever.
If you happen to drive by some of the picketing teachers, if you feel so inclined, give them a thumbs up, a quick car honk, a wave, or even a warm cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate. You never know who's life they could be changing.
I'll never forget you Mr. Sainchuk and Mr. Cherry.