My Teacher's Hall of Fame

My Teacher's Hall of Fame

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There are many commercials these days both on the radio and on the television that praise teachers. Why? Aside from a child's parents, a teacher is the most important person in a child's life. They act as surrogate parents seven hours out of each day. Like parents, teacher's care, support, nurture, teach, and mentor a child while they are at school, and sometimes afterward. For professional sports players there is a Hall of Fame set up so that they may be recognized for their achievements. Teachers are professionals as well and deserve to be recognized in the same way. Although there is no such recognition for teachers, I am going to introduce the teachers that would be inducted into my Teacher's Hall of Fame.

The first inductee to be recognized would be my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Tijerina. At six years old the world is a very scary place. At the end of that school year I left kindergarten feeling like I always had someone to turn to. As the years went by there were many times that I reached out for my teacher, and she welcomed me with open arms. One day after school, I overheard Mrs. Tijerina talking to one child's father. She told him that she noticed bruises on the child's arm and that if he ever laid a hand on her again, she would have him arrested. Since that day forward I felt safe and protected. I knew that if anyone ever tried to hurt me I could turn to Mrs. Tijerina and she would support me. As I look back, I am thankful that I had my teacher by my side.

The next person to be inducted is my English teacher during my senior year. We called her Ms. G. She exhibited all of the qualities one needed to become a good educator. When assignments were done wrong, she would not criticize. Instead she would encourage a better way of completing that particular assignment. Praise was handed out unselfishly and on a daily basis. Walking into her class gave me the feeling that I was able to accomplish anything. Sadly, I had to switch schools at the end of the first semester.

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I always wish I could find her and let her know that she had a positive impact on my life and that because of her I feel I am more secure in my studies.

The last inductee is a relatively new teacher. His name is Coach Rangel and he is a teacher and a coach at Cooper middle school. I had the pleasure of interviewing Coach Rangel for some insight into why it was his choice to become an educator. Coach Rangel began his educational career in the year 1998. He told me that he became a coach to give back to students what the coaches from his high school years gave to him. The first school he taught at was Southwest Alternative Center. I asked him if he could recall a time when he felt he went beyond the call of duty to help a child. He smiled, then answered that recently he took a student under his wing who had messed up in school. He said he felt like a father figure being able to help him determine right from wrong. When I asked him what difficulties he has come across when teaching, he responded that he dislikes teachers who practice `social promotion' allowing students to pass although they cannot read or write. Coach Rangel emphasized that he wishes that schools could concentrate more on curriculum and discipline for the students. He expressed that students are more aware of their surroundings now and are not sheltered anymore. That, he feels, along with the lack of discipline from the schools is a concern for teachers who fear another Columbine. The last question I asked of Coach Rangel was his opinion of the state mandated TAKS test. He told me that he is disappointed with the fact that one test can determine if a child is smart or not. He also said that a child's intelligence should be determined from what they learn not on a few multiple choice questions.

Each of these teachers possessed the qualities within them to make a good teacher. It is unfortunate that there are many people who enter the teaching profession because it is a career they see as easy work. Fortunately there are those such as Ms. G., Mrs. Tijerina, and Coach Rangel, who have it in them to make a difference in the lives of the children they teach. I hope that one day there will be a Hall of Fame established so that these wonderful teachers can receive the long awaited recognition that they deserve.
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