Mrs. Edwards taught me how to read an analog clock, which, like cursive writing or Latin, is now considered quaint but essentially pointless. Mr. Fernimos advised me to get my hands out of my pockets when I auditioned for the 4th grade play. I didn’t get the part, so he made me the assistant props director. It was my job to put the pumpkin on stage, and I did so without my hands in my pockets. Miss Hakala taught us how to balance a checkbook… not that we 6th graders were anywhere near having our own checking account. Back then, online banking was an Apple II pipe dream on a 5 1/4″ floppy and a grumbly modem that sounded like Harvey Fierstein.
Epistemology is the study of knowledge: how we know what we know, rationality of belief, and how we distinguish fact from opinion (another quaint but essentially pointless skill in some circles). As elementary school kids, you and I didn’t realize we were embedded in an epistemological sanctuary surrounded by information, opinion, method, and wisdom. Our teachers were the moderators, the curators, the administrators of this environment, and we’re the result. Our teachers humanized knowledge and, through relationship, transformed it into wisdom, which is knowledge rightly applied. Who would we be without our teachers? Not the same. Not the same at all.
Have you thanked a teacher today? If any kind of appreciation surfaces as you read this, why not take a moment to let them know? If you’ve shipped your kids off to school to begin the next leg of the journey, why not drop a line to let their teachers know you’re with them, you support them, you appreciate them? 4th Grade me didn’t know what was happening, but my 4th grader just walked into school for the first day, threw himself into his little 4th grade chair and started coloring a lily pad. I saw it happen, and it brought me back to Mr. Fernimos, who taught us a little bit of knowledge and a lot of life wisdom. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. And I’m thankful.