Education has progressed since I was in school - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Education has progressed since I was in school

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Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2014 10:59 am

I have written this particular column many times over and over in my head, it was time to just sit at the computer and do it! Today’s column is all about teachers and what a fantastic job they perform. I found this quote on Facebook and thought it was perfect: “Teachers — not in it for the income — they are in it for the outcome. “

Over the last few months, I have really paid attention to my boys’ teachers, how they run the classrooms, how they interact with the students, how they get the students excited to learn. What I have noticed from all the teachers at my son’s school is just how dedicated they are, how much they love each and every student, how hard they work to make each child succeed. Teachers are a very special group of adults, they have a light so bright inside their soul that their students can see and feel, students want to learn, and their gift is simply amazing.

I look at the educational system and although not perfect, it is superior to when I was in school. From the technology, hands-on projects, wide variety of classes, social interaction, arts, and sciences, etc., the opportunities are great.

Many many moons ago, back in small-town Minnesota, my mom went to register me for kindergarten and was told that they didn’t know if I would be accepted because I didn’t know how to jump rope. At the time, it was a skill that my mom didn’t know I needed, we went home and she taught me how to jump rope — problem solved. Now when you fill out the application for kindergarten, it is all about knowing their ABS’s, counting, colors, etc. This year my youngest son started kindergarten, although there was no question on whether he could jump rope or not, he did know his ABC’s, counting colors, and more. A few weeks ago his class finished up writing their second research paper. Trust me when I say, I am a proponent for kids and play, but writing research papers in kindergarten is AMAZING. I’m guessing that years down the line, it will be more beneficial for my son to know how to write research papers vs. jumping rope. It is the teachers who are showing our kids what they are capable of doing, encouraging them to learn more, showing them how to “think outside of the box.”

If you think back on your time in school, I will guess there was at least one teacher that was special to you. For me, it was Mrs. Swenson, one of our English teachers. Mrs. Swenson taught a creative writing class, which was my absolute favorite. I never thought of myself as a writer since I come from a very creative family, I always thought my brothers were more talented than myself. One day after writing a paper for Mrs. Swenson’s class, she took me aside and told me how creative my stories were, and that I should write. It took many years for me to push myself far enough to submit articles for print, but her voice was always in the back of my head — that is the power of a teacher.

My challenge for you this week is to talk with your children about their teacher, take the time to tell the teacher thank you for all their hard work and dedication.

A special shout out to Mrs. Swenson: Thank you! Thank you to all the teachers who have touched my boys lives — you are an amazing group.

• Leah Derewicz is a 15-year Ahwatukee Foothills resident. Reach her at

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