I am lucky enough to have been positively influenced by a number of educators over the course of my many years in school. From my first grade teacher who made me feel so very safe at a new school, to my fifth grade teacher who saved novels from the reading enrichment cupboard just for me because she knew how much I'd love them. I'll also never forget the professor in college who encouraged me to go to grad school or the one who invited me to speak at an important conference.
I've always had people who believed in me. However, the two most important educators in my life, without a doubt, are my mother and father. My mom was my first teacher -- I attended her Nursery School for two years before kindergarten (I had to call her "Mrs. Marcetti"! It was so weird!). I had my dad for a computer technology class my senior year of high school (I called him "Dad," and he always let me raid his snack supply). I loved my time as their student.
But they were so much more than that. They instilled in me a passion for learning. They managed to show me that school is very important and one must always work hard and do their very best, but also that it was a fun place to be, that I should want to be there.
In kindergarten I begged for homework, and in first grade I begged for extra homework. I loved learning and couldn't get enough. In college, I would go to a coffee shop after class and re-write my notes from class ... okay, so maybe I was a bit intense. But I liked it.
School was far from perfect. I asked to be homeschooled a lot in junior high, but to be fair, one very "kind" girl told everyone I stuffed my bra when I showed up in 7th grade with boobs I didn't have in 6th grade. She convinced people to hand me tissues between every class while people laughed hysterically. That same sweetheart drew a mustache on my picture in the yearbook with the kind note "shave it already."
If I still loved school despite all the time I spent crying, they really did their job well. They reminded me day after day why school was important and showed me that they never stopped learning themselves, even after they became the teachers. They made me want to show up day after day, even when my stomach was eating itself because I was so worried about running into you-know-who or one of her many friends. They truly taught me the power and importance of learning.
Teachers across the country are doing innovative things in the classroom every day to reach their students and teach them the same thing. In doing so, I'm sure you know they spend money out-of-pocket every year to supplement their classrooms. Office Depot has partnered with Adopt-A-Classroom -- a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environments of students -- in the hopes of raising awareness about all that teachers do to improve the lives of their students.
If you'd like an amazing example of what teachers are doing, check out this video of Brian Copes, a pre-engineering teacher whose students make prosthetic limbs out of old car and bike parts, and even help make utility vehicles for people in Honduras:
You can donate to a classroom or register your own classroom by visiting Teachers Change Lives.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.