May 09, 2018

The Difference

May 9, 2018 (129/365)

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Today I salute the wonderful educators who made a difference in my own life. Too many of them are gone, but their legacies live on in the hearts and minds of thousands of students, like me, who were transformed by their teaching. 

Thank you | Merci:
  • to Carol Pluta who first taught me to count, to sing songs, and to say simple phrases en français. She fostered a love of French and travel that changed my life both personally and professionally.
  • to Sisters Nivard, Rosemarie, Theresa, Odilla, Prosper, Frances, and Berna. They were strict but always kind. They taught me to respect and trust God, authority, my peers, and myself.
  • to Mrs. Lippert who impressed me with her love of literature as she read aloud in her lilting Scottish brogue. This passion for reading that she inspired would eventually lead me to a double major and a twenty-year career as a French and English teacher.
  • to Mrs. G, my high school yearbook adviser, who cultivated my creativity. She taught me to take and develop interesting photographs and to design attractive layouts. She encouraged me to continue writing and to carefully edit my work. (I do need to be more diligent about this.)
  • aux Professeurs Brigitte Coste, Steven Taylor, Jean-Pierre LaFouge, Béatrice Ness, and Jeannette Kraemer qui m'ont enseignée à communiquer en français et à aimer la littérature française du Moyen Âge au XXe siècle. They encouraged me to travel and immerse myself in the French language and culture. They inspired me to go to graduate school to become a teacher.
  • to Father John Naus who personified Marquette's motto, "Be the Difference!" Father Naus taught me that we rarely succeed at anything unless we have fun doing it, to see written on the forehead of everyone you meet "make me feel important," that laughter is one of God's greatest gifts, to lip-sync "watermelon" if you can't remember the words to a song, that miniature carnations will brighten your room for a week, and that the Godspell soundtrack will stick in your head like an endless, looping prayer. He inspired me to teach with passion and to show my own students and the teachers whom I coach how much I truly care about them and their work. Some of the lovely inserts included in over 25 years of Father Naus' Christmas cards still hang in my office reminding me to value wonder, to have faith, to be kind, and to enjoy life. 
These amazing teachers changed my life and I am humbled and blessed to walk in their footsteps. I am also grateful and honored to work side-by-side with equally dedicated educators who teach, who inspire, who challenge, who encourage, who care, who make a difference.