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Appreciating Our Hero Teachers

The purpose of The Apple Seed is to provide educators with regular doses of inspiration, humor, and survival tips. I know firsthand just how easy it can be to get worn down in this job, and what a big impact a few comforting words can have.

When I was first  starting out as a teacher in Tennessee, I remember spending all day and much of the night setting up my new classroom. My husband and daughters were at home, wondering what was taking me so long. That’s when a very friendly building custodian named Ms. Judy came by my classroom and pointed something out to me.  She said, “Teaching can be hard on marriages.” That’s not something they tell you when you’re training to be an educator, but I found it to be very true. To this day, that little bit of wisdom always reminds me to balance the priorities of both my classroom and my home.

Hero Teachers – Sister Sheila – First Grade, St. Rose of Lima, Rockaway Beach, NY

Teacher Appreciation Week recently ended, so I thought this would be an ideal time to reflect and begin our Hero Teacher Series. We all have teachers that influence and inspire us. Our first hero featured on The Apple Seed comes from my childhood: my first grade teacher, Sister Sheila.

Sister Sheila was a firm but loving teacher who had a great deal of respect for her students. I remember one day sneakily ripping a page out of my math workbook and then telling Sister Sheila that it was “missing” in an attempt to avoid doing any more addition practice.

Sister Sheila could have embarrassed me or yelled at me, but instead she simply went to the trash can, discreetly retrieved my “missing” page, and quietly asked, “Is this what you’re missing?”

At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but that benevolent moment stuck with me when I started teaching. Sister Sheila showed me just how important it is to always treat students with the grace and respect that all people deserve, regardless of their age or behavior.  My actions as a teacher - good or bad -  could stay with a student forever and I am so grateful for that lesson.

Thank you, Sister Sheila, from reading this sweet note from one of my students I think I'm on the right track:) 

Who are the teacher heros that have influenced you?  Leave a comment here, we'd loved to hear about them.  

Happy Teaching!

Yolanda Terry



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Sherr Hart Houson - February 9, 2017

My 7th grade teacher Mrs Murphy was the first (and only) teacher who I absolutely adored. She made us all feel like she was our friend while still maintaining her authority. She was pretty, cool and funny. She taught in such an engaging way that we never felt bored or watched the clock. I remember everything about her. Because of her, I taught myself how to write left-handed. Thanks to the power of social media, we’re now Facebook friends and still, she always comments on our posts and supports me by reading and commenting on my blog. She went on to become the Asst. Principal of the school but is now retired. She truly was the kind of teacher every child deserves to have!

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