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It's a tough job to be a teacher
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.

There are a lot of things I learned in school for which I owe my teachers a debt of gratitude.

I took typing class from a teacher named Connie Bruce. I have used that skill almost every day of my working life, particularly those in the news business.

Let me confess at the outset, I am married to a veteran teacher. She teaches sixth grade.

Dear Lord, please give a special blessing to anyone who is a teacher in middle school. It is a place where young raging hormones with arms and legs attached begin the transition from elementary to high school.

Back in the days of our moon landings and orbits, there was a time when the spacecraft would go on the dark side of the moon and would be out of contact with mission control.

At one point during the growth of a child, they go out of contact with mission control. This is where your teenager suddenly knows more than you. Teachers deal with this every day.

Teaching is a noble profession. Those who answer the call are special people who can make a difference in the lives of children. They may be teaching the future scientist who will discover a cure for cancer. They may teach a future garbage collector. A good teacher will give equal effort to ensure the student gains as much knowledge as possible.

We used to have colleges that specialized in training teachers. Georgia Southern University was once known as Georgia Teachers College. During that time, it turned out many of our state’s finest educators. Sadly, only a few colleges exist where the college of education is the largest.

Recruiting young people to become teachers is challenging in a world where so many other opportunities exist. Most of our university-level institutions offer a wide array of degrees in cutting edge studies.

But thank God, every year, a new crop of teachers enter the field.

I have been with my wife as she prepared her classroom for her new arrivals. The new teachers are starry-eyed and ready to begin their career. They are just a few years older than their pupils and will be tried and tested as they seek to educate our youngsters.

This is the time of year when spouses of teachers get to go on a treasure hunt for the store that has pencils, paper, scissors, markers and other school supplies on sale. Yes, you can put out all sorts of lists, but some kids are so dirt poor they can’t afford all the stuff they might need.

My wife spends time going through the back-to-school newspaper ads to find the best bargain. I spent $75 last week in a dollar store. You can get a lot of stuff at a dollar an item.

After spending money and time on students, a teacher may not see her impact. But there are those moments to make it worthwhile. When we see a current or former student of hers somewhere around town, they come up and hug her. You realize they really love and respect the woman who wants to see them grasp the ideas of science.

I love and respect my wife, too. She comes from a long line of teachers and the fruits of their labor will be evident for many years to come.

God bless all who teach!

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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