Saying thank you to teachers who inspire

Published 4:23 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Editorial by Dawn Burleigh

Everyday a friend makes a post on Facebook concerning making a difference.

It is usually a suggestion on how to show kindness to others or a way to brighten a persons day.

On Sunday, she posted, “Write a thank-you note to a teacher who inspired you.”

While I would not know where to begin to search for elementary school teachers which inspired me, I can name a few from college who reminded me why I love to learn new things.

I recall stepping into Eric Owens classroom at Lamar State College Orange (LSCO) and thinking I was most likely older than him by a couple of decades. OK, maybe not quite as much older but it sure felt like it when I was surrounded by several freshly out of high school individuals.

Owens brought history alive. Over the years, I had become disenchanted with history as just another boring subject. However, Owens helped bring the connection between history and present.

Dr. Gwendolyn Whitehead was still teaching when I attended LSCO. She imparted such a love for the written word. I recall sitting in her office one day as I was trying to determine if I was going to change my major or not. Dr. Whitehead, I cannot thank you enough for the words you spoke that day which helped me make an informed decision.

For economics, A. Best, at LSCO, was literally the best teacher on the subject. I had the opportunity to experience another teacher during a Summer semester, online and discovered, how Best is a wonderful a teacher.

Teachers come with many names. They are not always the person at the front of the classroom. Educators are an important part of our youths lives. They spend hours a day for approximately nine months a year during a typical school year.

However, not all teachers are in a typical classroom setting. There are instructors who teach art, dance, cooking, sewing, wood work… All outside the walls of a classroom. Maybe it was a librarian who helped you learn a new word you were struggling to pronounce. Maybe it was a pastor who helped you understand a passage in the Bible. Maybe it was your grandmother teaching you a family recipe. Everyone is a teacher in some way. Sometimes, sadly, the lesson is how not to act.

We are surrounded by mentors who teach us new lessons in life.

When was the last time you took a moment to tell one thank you?

Dawn Burleigh is editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at