"The Gift of a Great Teacher"

As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation week, all of us should acknowledge how important their work is.  In a letter to the Kentucky Democratic Party, Senator Morgan McGarvey (D) Louisville, asked the question: Perhaps you have a teacher that you would like to thank?

In the current climate in our state, with its Koch Brothers infused, Matt Bevin led, ALEC sponsored, Bluegrass Institute promoted attack on public education, teachers, and the teaching profession, many on both sides of the aisle have been disgusted by this unwarranted intrusion from out-of-state forces and their dark money.

Thankfully, Kentuckians have shrugged off this ridiculous campaign.

Teachers dedicate their careers to the lives of OUR children.  How many teachers have bought coats and gloves when their students were cold?  Paid for supplies out of their own pockets? Stayed late? Spent weekends attending sporting events, academic programs, and grading papers?  Challenged their students to be their best? Inspired their students to explore their dreams? Exhibited countless acts of selfless devotion to their students’ well-being?

There are many synonyms for a teacher:  tutor, coach, trainer, adviser, mentor, guide, and educator.  Teachers wear many hats and are some of the best multi-taskers in the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers who had an impact on my life.

Miss Kaylor, my first-grade teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Bristol, Virginia, who allowed me to be promoted to the second grade after a serious eye injury caused me to miss 30 days.

Mrs. Montgomery, my third-grade teacher and full-bloodied Cherokee, who was full of life and taught us how to do the twist.

Mrs. Greever, my fourth-grade teacher at my new school, Fairmount Elementary in Bristol, Tennessee, who was one of the funniest and most optimistic persons I have known.  I loved coming to school.

Mrs. Morefield, my sixth-grade teacher, who was a taskmaster where I mastered the love of learning.

Mr. Johnson, my seventh-grade English teacher at George W. Vance Jr. High, who taught me how to enjoy reading the classics of Dickens, Defoe, and Longfellow.

Mr. O'Dell, my ninth-grade Algebra teacher at Bristol Tennessee High, who gave us one “word problem” every night for homework. It taught me how to read, then transpose letters, symbols, and numbers for the words.

"Granny" Parlor, my tenth-grade Biology teacher at my new school, R.B. Stall High in Charleston, S.C., who inspired me to love the sciences.

Dr. Thomas Peake, my Modern European History professor at King College, who inspired me to major in History and Political Science.

Mr. Mohrfeld, a Political Science Professor at The Citadel, who made the U.S. Constitution and those court cases come alive.

Now, it's your turn.

If you have the opportunity, contact a couple of your favorite teachers and tell them how much you appreciate, admire, and support their professional work. Thank them for that priceless gift they gave you.

So, when the misguided politician comes after their dignity, their pension, or their profession, those teachers will know that you have their back!

And better yet, in November, send a message by voting to support teachers and public education in the next election cycle!