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Teachers do make an impact

By Matthew Burdette - Editor in Chief | Mar 29, 2020

Teachers – both elementary and high school – can have a significant impact on someone’s life, one that truly can last a lifetime.

From my first-grade teacher Ruth Ruf to high school English teacher Cyndy Goldsworthy, band director Mike Winland and history and journalism teacher Jim Butta, I certainly would not be the same person I am today without their early guidance, words of wisdom and keen instruction.

All these years later – too many to think about – I often fall back on their teachings in my daily life and writings, and continue to owe them and many others a debt of gratitude that certainly will follow me the remainder of my life.

Teachers have the ability to inspire. They have the ability to mold young minds, and they have the power to change the course of countless lives.

When you think about it, it really is quite amazing. Aside from our parents and grandparents, teachers have the greatest influence over us in our formative years, often having as much contact with us as our mothers and fathers.

Their responsibility is enormous, and they know that and thrive on it. It takes a very special person to dedicate themselves to educating the youth of our community, state and nation.

Their work is tireless, overwhelming, sometimes thankless and all too often underfunded. Many teachers in our area buy their own supplies and spend countless hours of their own time working to better prepare themselves for the classroom and their students.

They spend until the wee hours of the morning grading papers and projects, calculating grades and formulating lesson plans.

Teachers also serve – even though unofficially – as counselors to their many students in both education and life lessons.

Now, throw into that the latest curveball – remote learning.

Schools throughout Southern New Hampshire just finished up their first week of classes in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Using unfamiliar tools, like Google Classroom, Skype, Facetime, Zoom and other online resources to communicate with students, our local educators likely are breathing a sign of relief.

Teaching classrooms full of students isn’t an easy thing to do in person, let alone online when a national pandemic forces schools to change procedures for the safety and well-being of pupils.

As it stands now, remote learning will last until at least May 4. With a week under their belt, teachers now are fully immersed and up and running, skillfully presenting lessons to their students so the learning process does not come to a halt during these difficult times.

And, as it turns out, teachers too are missing in-person interaction time with their students.

That was made apparent Friday, when several groups got together to parade through Nashua neighborhoods in cars to celebrate their first week of distance learning and let their students know they still were thinking about them.

Fortunately, educators are as resourceful – if not more so – than MacGyver stuck on a dessert island in a wooden cage buried 30-feet underground.

They will make this difficult process work and keep the education system in the Granite State afloat until such a time when it’s safe to return to physical classrooms.

One thing I hope this outbreak teaches us – no pun intended – is how valuable the men and women who educate our children really are.

Not to politicize the issue, but I also hope this situation leads to better compensation for our teachers who do so much for us, our children and our community.

Without inspiration from teachers, many of us would have gone down a different path – either career-wise or life in general.

Teachers – along with medical professionals – are the true heroes in this outbreak. They provide an absolutely invaluable service that has such a positive impact on society.

All I really can say to the many teachers in our community, is thank you for all you do! It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Matthew Burdette may be reached at 603-594-1240 and mburdette@nashuatelegraph.com. Follow him on Twitter @Telegraph_MattB.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This content is being provided for free as a public service to our community during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Telegraph at https://home.nashuatelegraph.com/clickshare/checkDelivery.do;jsessionid=40C089D96583CD7318C1C1D9317B6162.

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