By Carissa Moffat Miller
I’ve had a lot of teachers in my life. I spent over 20 years in formal education settings learning from some of the most capable teachers around. I can point to many family members who teach in elementary and middle schools across the country, including two who teach above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. In my current role as Interim Executive Director at the Council of Chief State School Officers, I get the privilege of visiting schools and meeting teachers in every corner of our great country as well as offering our support to the State Teachers of the Year, the best and the brightest teachers from each state. All of these individuals have inspired me in some way throughout my life.
There is no shortage of exemplary individuals I can point to as teachers who I want to highlight this week during #LoveTeaching Week, a time for all of us to come together and show why we love teaching and those who had such a profound impact on our lives. Yet, the common theme among all my teachers who remain influential in my life are the ones that made the classroom come alive, who filled their teaching with passion. And that passion seeped outside the school and into the community.
The art teacher in my hometown of Oshkosh, Nebraska, is one of those great examples. After college, Lauren Olson returned to her hometown and now teaches K-12 art in this small community. She takes pride in the work of her students, and brings her classrooms to life with beautiful murals. Lauren doesn’t limit her students’ art to the classroom. She showcases student art on social media, and even hosts art shows and places student work in public buildings. Outside the classroom, Lauren combines her love for teaching, art and community service by encouraging students to make a social impact within their environment. Out of the 40 murals she’s completed across the county, 10 of them have been with her students in grades 3- 6 and high school. Her students have taken on building-sized murals and community art projects where they will be able to see their impact in the community for years to come.
Lauren Olson happens to be my cousin. I admit I’m biased but also incredibly proud of her. What she has brought to teaching and to our hometown is an incredible example of what many teachers do each day to make learning come alive for students.
I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to the stories from the 2017 State Teachers of the Year on the Leading from the Classroom podcast series, or read the profiles of the new cohort of the 2018 State Teachers of Year for even more examples: http://www.ccsso.org/blog/introducing-2018-state-teachers-year.
You can add your story about the teachers who have made a difference for you, or the teacher in your community who is making an impact right now. Share your story on social media this week using #LoveTeaching.
Join in the conversation, and let’s show Lauren Olson and all the other teachers why we #LoveTeaching and what they do every day.
You May Also Be Interested In ...