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A salute to the all- American teacher

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By JE Bolton

It’s finally here: the end of yet another year of school in all its glory.

I remember fondly the excitement that generated from summer vacation drawing near. I’d get to sleep in and go to bed a little later than usual, go to a relative’s house that had a swimming pool, washing away all the summertime blues, and let’s not forget the anticipation surrounding Fourth of July festivities.

In school, I was never a straight-A student by any means. However, what I didn’t have scholastically, I made up for creatively. In fact, a portion of who I am as a writer came from the encouragement and support from some of my teachers. They know who they are and who they aren’t.

During the school year, there were problems in the education system that, being a student, I didn’t understand and were far from my concern. My only concern was that I used to go home after a long day of school and would fantasize about being a teacher myself. I always imagined that if my teachers were having such an impact on me, imagine what kind of impact I’d have.

Unfortunately, I never pursued the route of teaching. However, I like to think of this column as my classroom, and that I’ve inspired all my readers and have taught each and every one of you something that will carry you when nothing else will.

I know that if you were to ask anyone in regards to the education system nowadays, it’s like with anything in life: you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Things might’ve been bad, but I’ll never forget all those teachers who helped mold me into what I am today. For Mrs. King for reading my poems out loud in class, Mr. Jones for encouraging me to be all that I could be as a writer, and Mrs. Davis for being the best writing mentor God could’ve ever sent my way. And if I didn’t mention you by name, don’t worry. The list goes on and on and we’d need another edition of this newspaper to tell it all.

For a few of those whose hearts didn‘t seem to be in it at all and felt I wouldn‘t amount to anything, and you know who you are, I thank you especially for the lessons from that. It’s because of you that I pushed myself and proved you wrong. In the words of a Toby Keith song, “How do you like me now?”

Young people, when you return next school year and you have a teacher who believes you can reach for the impossible when no one else will, never take them for granted. They see more potential in you than you’ll ever know.

A true teacher’s job isn’t easy, people. They have such a tedious task ahead of them. My writing mentor and former teacher Joy Edwards-Davis said it best: “I’m blessed with a far richer coin. To touch the way a child is going.”

For those teachers who enter a classroom and feel as though your work is in vain, remember the students who were just like me who hold each of you in the light of respect, admiration and love.

I always have and I always will.