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Forgive a Proud Parent for Bragging, but. . . .

A lot of teachers have appeared in the long line of the Petersons over the years.

Mildred Peterson Simpson, my aunt, had a long career in education, as did Norma Peterson, our cousin. Although Mother and Daddy were never formally trained educators, they both taught Sunday school classes, and Mother did a little substitute teaching.

Then there was Gina Peterson King, my sister, who taught for a number of years. She not only taught in a formal classroom setting but also gave private piano lessons for a time.

Connie, my wife, "retired" last year after teaching first and second grades over a long career. (She actually taught longer than I did.) I put quotation marks around that word retired because even in "retirement" she substitute teaches in grades K-3 and is consistently in one classroom or another two to four days a week. I hardly consider that retirement!

My 19-year educational career consisted mostly of teaching history to junior high students and a few years of teaching English and writing to high school students. But when a teacher at Knoxville Business College (now South College) was working on her dissertation, I substituted for her for two terms, teaching English, technical writing, and speech classes. I also substitute taught several times in college history classes at my alma mater.

Although having teachers in the family while I was growing up no doubt influenced my own decision to become a teacher, the most gratifying thing was to have some of my own children become teachers.

Tisha, Daughter Number 3, majored in early childhood education in college, encouraged, no doubt, by not only the fact that both of her parents were teachers but also the consistent reinforcement she received from so many people who told her from an early age how well she worked with and related to young children. After graduating college, she immediately began teaching and has been doing so for sixteen years now.

Elissa, Daughter Number 2, went into nursing and worked in various departments in two hospitals--oncology, med-surg, joint camp, etc.--and in a urology group practice. She took a hiatus when her children were born, but as soon as they enrolled in school, she became an AVERT instructor of first aid, CPR, "Stop the Bleed," active shooter, and other training courses.

Rachelle, Daughter Number 1, homeschools her two school-age children, venturing into a totally different form of education.

I do not mean to slight Stacy, Daughter Number 4, but she didn't go into education, choosing rather to enter the world of corporate medicine as an executive project manager.

But Tisha recently received a distinctive recognition that no one else in our immediate family has ever earned in our various educational efforts. She was named Teacher of the Year at her school in Michigan. I hope you'll forgive and indulge a proud parent for bragging a bit. Perhaps I'm just a little biased in my opinion, but I think it was a well-earned recognition. I'm certain a lot of the parents of her students--and later even her students--will agree.

Congratulations, Tisha! You've done your parents proud!

What teachers have influenced your life and how? Which of them would you nominate to be a Teacher of the Year and why? Share your thoughts with our readers.

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