It is that time of year again--BACK-to SCHOOL.  Parents know the summer nights are getting shorter and the early morning routines are just a few weeks away.  Kids are anxious to get back into the classroom. They enjoy going shopping for school supplies and maybe a “first day of school” outfit with their parents.  Kids start to talk about their friends, the dreaded homework assignments, the cool projects in science class, and most importantly the relationships they create throughout the year with classmates and teachers.  School is just around the corner!

Relationships with a teacher have such a dramatic effect on a student’s success during the year.  (Which is why teaching is such a rewarding profession) We can all look back on teachers who impacted our lives.  Not the teachers that were the “coolest” or “ most popular”, but those that took the time to really get to know us and push us to become the best.  I have had many great teachers guide me in my educational journey. But two teachers really pushed me to do my best and held me accountable for doing my best!  They taught us that the mistakes were just as important as the successes. They encouraged us to fail and push through, learning along the way. (In today’s world we call it the growth mindset!)  They were firm yet fair. They were teachers you didn’t want to disappoint. You wanted to do your best. We are constantly trying to get approval from someone: friends, brother, sister, mom, dad, spouse, teacher, preacher, anyone who will give us a “like” in this digital world we live in.  However, before it was cool to click the thumbs up---Mrs. Garrett and Mrs. Kohman would give you the old fashion thumbs up and/or thumbs down. They constantly had their thumb on the situation. The class was organized, friendly, planned thoroughly, feedback given consistently and fairly, but the most important characteristic of the class---it was where I wanted to be!  The relationship both teachers established with me had a lasting impact. Mrs. Garrett passed away this summer and I have thought of her often. Her impact has lasted my lifetime. She changed my approach to learning. It was no longer about just getting the grade, but getting prepared to be successful in life. (My writing is still a struggle, but would hope I get the thumbs up on this one!)  

Mrs. Kohman had me for three years in HS for English before retiring.  To this day the relationship I have with her is strong. She was always leaving notes on my papers, corrective actions and asking thought provoking questions--with a red pen of course!  She was so vested in our lives though it was hard to disappoint. You would always see Mrs. Kohman at a ball game, home or away. She was at the music concerts, spelling bee, scholars bowl, FFA fundraiser, you name it and she was visible, engaged, and vested.  The students of the school were a top priority in her life. She would comment on your papers about the event she attend and how proud she was of you. I remember one in particular. We were asked to journal about our feelings at the time… was the week of our first football game my freshmen year.  I was anxious so I wrote about it. I remember she wrote back how excited she was to watch us and to see our success on the field. WHAT a teacher was interested in something about me outside of school---she had me from that moment. It wasn’t fake, it wasn’t one time, it was all the time! That relationship allowed her to push me to new heights.  Once the relationship was established, letting her down was not an option. If she was going to be vested in my success, I wanted to be vested in her success as a teacher. I was not going to let her down. To this day, 25 years ago I graduated HS, I always go out of my way to reach out to Mrs. Kohlman, guess I’m looking for the old fashion thumbs up still!  RELATIONSHIPS matter most!

As we gear up for the start of the school year here at USD 393 Solomon, I wonder who will have that same impact on my children.  As my son enters Middle School those relationships are vital to the success of not only my child, but everyone. I hope the teachers here at Solomon understand the impact they will have on my son 25 years down the road. Who will that/those teachers be?  Good news my son has many great teachers to choose from!

See everyone August 22nd--First day of School---All smiles day! 😁😁