It’s About People

“It’s About People”

Part of my job requires me to visit schools to represent teachers.  I had just finished a meeting at Shawnee High School and was in the hallway talking with one of my teachers.  As I walked off, headed toward my car, I heard a small voice say, “Ms. Yeager?”  Ms. Yeager.  I know that name.  I don’t hear that name often.  There are only certain people that call me that name and they usually aren’t more than three apples high.  See, Ms. Yeager was my teaching name.  It’s the name precious little six-year-olds anxiously yelled out when they knew the answer to a question, needed to use the bathroom or excitedly yelled out when they discovered a new word they could read.  Whose voice could this be?

I turned around to see a tall, thin, beautiful teenager.  Right away I knew who it was.  It was Devron Williams, and she was one of my favorite students from my first two years of teaching from 1998-2000.  It’s so hard to imagine that my cute little first graders are now ‘want-to-be grown’ sophomores in high school.  Although she now towered over me, she still glared at me with the same sense of admiration that existed nine years ago.  Devron was always soft spoken and very, very shy.  I remember when we did a holiday play and each child had a talking part.  Although Devron wanted to be in the play, she was too shy to say anything.  So, she became the stuffed teddy bear that just sat there on the stage.  Hey, if it worked for her, it worked for me.

We talked in the hall for several minutes and it was hard to determine who was more excited.  I was impressed that she still remembered a lot of facts about me.  I reflected on all the wonderful stories/letters she wrote for me throughout elementary school.  As I walked away, I realized truly what this holiday season is about. It’s not about snow, or presents, or additional vacation days. It’s not about sales, or college bowl games or a warm bowl of chili (although all of those things are nice).  It’s about people.  I call this my transitional Christmas.  I’ll try to continue some old traditions, while at the same time I’ll slowly develop some new.  So this holiday season, try not to get too caught up the hype and hooplah.  Just when you start feelings stressed or depressed, realize the true meaning of the holidays and surround yourself with positive people or be the positive person for someone else!

*Also, thank you for your input on last’s week fictional scenario.  Both at the LULYP social and online there was very good dialogue between the sexes!*


M.Y.  December 2007

My Favorite Teaching Moment

“My Favorite Teaching Moment”

On May 1, 2001 I received a message in my school mailbox that said “Cortney’s mom died.”  I hadn’t even known that her mother had been sick (she had cancer).  I tried to be there as much as possible for her during that time. She was only six years old.  On May 22, 2001 we had our award’s ceremony for first graders.  Many families of my students were there.  They sang and performed the song “That’s What Friends Are For”.  After the ceremony everyone went around to show their families their awards.  Cortney, rightfully, became sad because her mother was not there.  She stayed close by my side. I don’t know why it happened, but this video shows what I was moved to do.

(Click on the photo to watch the video of my favorite teaching moment!)

*“That’s What Friends Are For” has become one of my most memorable songs. I was honored to be able to be there for Cortney.  The ironic thing, though, is that I was absent the next day (May 23, 2001).  That is the day I was in the hospital and had to tell my mother that she had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  I was devastated. Although I didn’t want to return to school the next day, it was the last day of school and I felt I owed it to my students. I returned to school on May 24 and the happiness and smile that usually existed was far from present.  The ONE THING that got me through that day was my students making a circle around me and singing “That’s What Friends Are For”.

Teaching is so much more than lessons in a book.  It’s about making a difference. It’s a hard job, but it’s also a very rewarding job.  Until you lives in the shoes of a teacher you will never know the joys of learning, the fear of failure and the potential to mold our future.  Please take the time to thank each and every teacher you know!


M.Y. August 2007