This week my mom is retiring from teaching after 42 years! As a typical Baby Boomer, she’s been retiring for the last five years, but we really do believe she’s signed the papers. Most people can’t even keep their New Year’s Resolutions for longer than 42 minutes, so to say that dedication, loyalty and commitment is who she is, is an understatement.
I can’t imagine the amount of blood, sweat, and tears poured into those years, (especially the years when she had her three children in her class)! But we all survived! 🙂
I remember the late nights watching her correct papers, the early mornings where she’d pack up cookies to take her class to celebrate a Cyclone victory, and most of all I remember her deep-seated love in teaching each and every student.
Many of the best teachers (my mom included) won’t get a thank you, won’t get an acknowledgement of their effort, or an appreciation of all they’ve done (especially when you teach 5th graders) but I know, the thank you will come years later, when they’ve remembered a word of encouragement she said, or that creative project where they pushed their limits, or the kindness she showed them when they forgot their homework.
The influence of great teacher can never be erased, and I know the mark my Mom has had on her 1,000’s of students goes much deeper. It isn’t so much about math, geography, or history (her favorite) but rather the heart behind those lessons.
Maya Angelou says, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
I, in fact do remember many of those educational lessons my Mom taught (yes I was listening!), but most of all I remember how it felt to see my Mom with such poise and grace so confidently assigning that next book project. I never got used to calling her Mrs. Schaefer, it was always Mom for me, and I remember most days I just wanted to go give her a hug and say, “Let’s have class dismiss early and go bake cookies!”
The best was the perks of staying after school to write on the chalkboard, and not having to ride the bus but instead having my own personal chauffer. On that note, just a quick SHOUT OUT to Tim Maynard and Kara Pralle, the other teacher’s kids, who would get in after school mischief with me!
So today, Mom, I honor your legacy and I know these words don’t do you justice. In one sense your 42-year legacy is ending, but in the lives of so many who you have touched it’s just beginning.
Mom, I pray your retirement will be even more fulfilling and impactful than all those 42 years combined. And of course, looking to more Mom trips and visits!
I love you and am forever grateful for the example you’ve set for me, in having always having a teacher’s heart and truly being “ALL IN” (ISU reference intended) for all 42 years!
No one has done it better. Much Love.
Your Favorite Daughter & Student, 🙂
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