Horace Mann Quote

~Horace Mann Quote
A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 7 #EdBlogADay #ThankaTeacher

It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I've had many people to show their appreciation for me as an educator; however, I could not do what I do had it not been for some very important people - my own teachers.  One teacher that particularly stands out in my mind is my high school homeroom teacher of four years, Mr. William Harris, who was also my science teacher.  Although he was assigned to teach me science, it was his philosophy that stayed with me all these years. I remember him saying to me, "Ms. Murphy [my maiden name], you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it."  It took years and years for that to really sink in, but today I believe that with all my heart all because of a seed Mr. Harris planted.

I remember another day when senior boys were coming in late and asking for pencils. Mr. Harris said, "Some of you are working now and buying all of this expensive attire for the prom, but you can't afford to buy a pencil? Isn't it amazing? People will pay for what they want, but beg for what they need. Buy what you need first, then if you have to, beg for what you want."  Still today I see students purchasing excessive amounts of snacks at the concession stand, but they will show up in class without pencil or paper and expect the teacher to provide it for them.

My last memory that I would like to share was a memory that has helped me as I developed into the person I have become.  I'll never forget it. I was in my junior year of high school, and the senior boys were having a conversation about who each of them were taking to the prom. I considered the girls they were taking to be beautiful, "mature" young ladies in that they were curvy and wore pretty make-up while I was bony and didn't have any clue as to how to apply the stuff. They were going on and on and on until finally Mr. Harris says, "Why are you all taking 'those kinds of girls?'" You should be taking someone like Ms. Murphy.  She's respectful, smart, and intelligent. One young man replied, "Why would we take her? The only thing we would be getting is a brain in a skirt?" I was totally humiliated to the point that I wanted to crawl under a rock and disappear. But now as I look back on that day, I am so proud to be that brain in a skirt. My brain has evolved more than ever, and my skirts fit just fine around my curves, AND I can apply make-up now if I so desire!

I realize that  Mr. Harris's message that day was that I was a lady to be respected, and what I had went much deeper than surface beauty. I'm not saying that if a woman is appealing to the eye that she doesn't possess that, I'm saying that what's on the inside will make the outside beautiful. 

Thanks Mr. Harris, for the lessons you taught me. I share some of the same philosophies with my students today that you once shared with me. You are truly appreciated some 28 years later.