Speer: Teachers make a difference in our lives

Today, stop for a minute and reflect upon a teacher who has made a difference in your life.

For me, it would have to be my third grade teacher, Mrs. Stahl.

Most students feared Mrs. Stahl. She ruled over her class with stern glares and a wooden ruler.

I discovered another side to her, however. She helped to inspire and encourage me in my love of reading. She pointed me to books that expanded my imagination. Later, she prodded me to further develop my writing skills. Ultimately, I credit her for where I am today as editor and publisher of this newspaper.

We have reached the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, a formal time set aside to remember the work teachers do. But really, our appreciation for this group should extend to every day of our lives.

Can you balance a checkbook? Thank a teacher.

Can you write a resume? Thank a teacher.

Yes, “i before e, except after c” was a pain in the butt to master. Yes, today people still struggle with affect and effect or to, too and two.

Ultimately, however, as we grow older we understand why mastering such lessons were important. We now see the bigger picture of why our teachers drove home important lessons that at the time, seemed trivial or inconsequential.

Each of us has a Mrs. Stahl in our lives. Each of us has a teacher who inspired us to reach a little higher, dig a little deeper in our pursuits.

I credit my teachers for inspiring me. I know without doubt my two sons’ teachers inspired them as well. Each graduated from Alpena High School with a solid education that served as a strong foundation upon which they furthered their pursuits in college. Each is successful today in their professional fields as a result of that education.

Understandably, I’m not the poster boy of happiness for teachers today, some of whom didn’t agree with a recent column and some, through comments made, suggested I knew little about teachers’ families.

What might surprise them, I expect, is that I am a huge supporter of quality teaching and teachers and yes, I do have a lot of experience about teaching families.

I grew up in a teaching family. My father was a teacher. My father-in-law was a teacher. My one daughter-in-law is a teacher.

I think I understand very, very well teaching families.

More to the point today, I know that there is no force near as powerful in molding and shaping a young person as an influential adult, and many a teacher has served in that capacity over the decades.

And thankfully they did. Many a successful adult today can reflect back to a teacher who first made a difference in their life.

Thank you Mrs. Stahl, and to all the Mrs. Stahls in the teaching profession today.

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13. Read his blog, More BS?(Bill Speer) at www.thealpenanews.com.