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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

Those who can...........



I heard this from my friends' parents growing up. Both my parents were teachers so it hurt. I knew all too well that teachers didn't make a whole lot of money. We lived on a budget. Dad made sure we had a roof over our heads and the household bills were paid. He always set aside something for the future. Sometimes "our future" got spent on emergencies like doctor visits. Too many of those and the budget got really tight. Birthday parties were the worst because Mom always bought a hairbrush as the gift I gave at the party. At the time, she was a stay-at-home mom. She never exceeded the amount dad planned in the family's budget. "Everybody needs one," was her explanation although I knew it was because it was all we could spend.

Eventually, I outgrew the need for a 'party" to validate the passage of another year. Once I began paying my own bills, I grew to appreciate a new hairbrush.


As I look back at the things that truly impacted my life, I've come to appreciate good teachers. I remember the bad ones equally well, of course. The skinny old maid who taught geometry and either never knew or never cared that once we figured out how a "theorem" was supposed to look, we copied the format over and over, switching out a few words before turning each assignment in for a check mark in her grade book. Got an "A" in geometry...a third grader can do more with geometry skills than I"ll ever do.


But there was another skinny old maid who taught Latin. Trust me. She cared what we learned. She cared THAT we learned. We translated Julius Caesar. The entire book. From Latin. We conjugated verbs. We did reports. We read books aloud in Latin in front of the classroom. And then told our classmates what we had read. We learned because that teacher cared that we learned. To this day, I can derive the meaning of almost any unknown word simply by thinking about the Latin root it is derived from. Talk about a blessing in the fields of science and agriculture.


Over the years, I've come to really appreciate Dad's version of that old saying:


"Those who can, teach.

Those who can't, do some other less significant work."

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