By Bill Gordy
Great teachers are masters of their subject matter. They exhibit expertise in the subjects they are teaching and spend time continuing to gain new knowledge in their field. They present material in an enthusiastic manner and instill a hunger in their students to learn more on their own. Among some of the most important qualities of a good teacher include understanding, patience, and compassion. The teachers of Natchitoches Parish have these qualities and more.
Great teachers set high expectations for all students. They expect that all students can and will achieve greatness in their classroom, and they never give up on any student who walks through their classroom door. Great teachers have clear objectives so that they can build the anticipation for learning in their students and create lifelong learners. Teachers tirelessly create the perfect lesson plan so that all of their students will have the materials and opportunities each one individually needs in order to succeed.
I have many fond memories of my teachers. Although, it did not start out very well. I can remember on the very first day of school we were on the playground which was right up my alley. When my teacher told me that I could not take off my shirt at recess, I told her that I always did that when I played outside. Later on, a bell rang and everyone went inside the building. I stayed outside and that same teacher came and told me to go inside. That is when I told her I was not through playing. I was not off to a great start on my first day of school. Twelve years later I had a completely different view of teachers. When I reflect back over my life, there are so many memories about school and the teachers I had. I remember in the second grade when the principal came on the intercom and announced President John F. Kennedy had been shot. My teacher was at a complete loss for words. She had to rally herself in order to help her students cope with the world changing news that we were a nation without a leader for a short time in a very serious point in our country’s history. Just as our teachers today are helping their students to understand the seriousness of what is happening in our world, she was able to provide a safe haven for her students and help us understand the magnitude of what had happened on that late November day in 1963.
I had a teacher in the sixth grade who was incredible. I remember him playing softball with us during PE. This same teacher was at Leesville High School when I entered the ninth grade and he taught me Algebra. Because of the influence he had upon my life I made it a point to keep up with him over the years. He eventually worked in the Central Office in Vernon Parish. As a result of his influence, my start to high school was very exciting. There were many more teachers throughout those years whom I will never forget; nor will I forget the experiences, influence, and knowledge all of my teachers presented to me throughout those twelve years.
The administrators in Natchitoches Parish all appreciate the time and effort that our teachers in this parish put into the learning process. Many after school hours and weekends are spent ensuring that the next generation is ready for life after their Senior year. Devotion to their students and a desire to see them be successful after they leave their classrooms and continue learning every day of their lives make our teachers the amazing educators who we appreciate every day. We want to thank all who teach in this parish and those that have taught many years and now are enjoying retirement. Let’s all give a shout to those who molded our minds and our lives. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!