Teacher Appreciation Week encourages individuals to thank those that make the world of education a better place. Dr. Kathy Wiebke reflects on special teachers who’ve impacted her for the long haul. This week, we honor and celebrate teachers. Every year around this time I think about those who madeMay 06, 2016
Teacher Appreciation Week encourages individuals to thank those that make the world of education a better place. Dr. Kathy Wiebke reflects on special teachers who’ve impacted her for the long haul.
This week, we honor and celebrate teachers. Every year around this time I think about those who made a difference in my life. I flashback to moments in Mrs. Mack’s second grade class, where singing along to her piano was a daily ritual. I recall Dr. Duffy, my economics professor, who challenged me to follow my passion of teaching. Today, I reflect on fourth grade.
The message I received from my mother was simple: “I have some sad news. Mrs. Timbrooks passed away.”
As I read the words of the nvarchar(max), memories of Mrs. Timbrooks consumed me. It was an extraordinary year. I remember our classroom, which was a converted staff lounge. It was filled with books and all sorts of things that made being in her room fascinating. Mrs. Timbrooks made learning an adventure.
Once, we went on a field trip to the Phoenix Zoo. Someone asked about the pyramid on a nearby mountain. A moment later, she had the bus driver turn around so we could go see what that pyramid was all about. She could have easily answered the question, but instead, we went to find an answer for ourselves.
I remember once telling Mrs. Timbrooks that I thought she was wrong. She replied, “Let’s look it up in the encyclopedias and find out.” Each student was encouraged to think in her classroom. At the same time, she challenged us to dream — we were on a quest for discovery.
Mrs. Timbrooks had a gift.
Mrs. Timbrooks was strikingly beautiful. And, she was tall! Really tall, yet she carried herself with amazing grace. As a fourth grader, I struggled being the tallest kid in the class. I towered over everyone but Mrs. Timbrooks. I remember thinking if she was tall and lovely, maybe my height wasn’t such a bad thing.
Mrs. Timbrooks helped me see the beauty we each bring to the world.
Mrs. Timbrooks was one of the reasons I became a teacher. I wanted to be like her. I remember loving school. She made every day an extraordinary day — a gift. I wanted to be a teacher just like her. I wanted to inspire kids to think, dream, and create.
Mrs. Timbrooks was inspirational.
Years after I became a teacher, there was an article in the local paper about a new school where instruction would be aligned to brain-based research. It was going to be thematic in its approach, and learning would be meaningful. As I read the article, I was not surprised to find Mrs. Timbrooks was one of the teachers leading the charge. After so many years, she was still challenging her practice in innovative ways.
Mrs. Timbrooks epitomized the words, “lifelong learner.”
Mrs. Timbrooks was an inspirational teacher. Little did she know she would continue to impact me 20, 30, and 40 years later. She taught me to challenge myself, seeking to make things better. She taught me that learning was a journey, not a destination. She taught me that while you did not have to have the right answers, you need to be willing to seek them out. Through her I learned how to be wrong, how to stand tall and proud, and when to journey off the beaten path to discover something new.
Mrs. Timbrooks made a difference.
Do you want to make a difference? Surround yourself with inspiring educators that strive to impact learning communities statewide. Join the Arizona K12 Center for the Eleventh Annual Teacher Leadership Institute: Making a Case for Leadership.