Recently, I finished re-reading Notebooks of the Mind, a fascinating book that explores how creative people think and examines the human mind working at its highest potential. In particular, one phrase caught my attention--"the legacy of distant teachers." The author, Vera John-Steiner, described the critical role that teachers play in shaping lives. I began reflecting upon the "legacy of distant teachers" who have impacted me. The list of memorable teachers was long; however, I do want to briefly mention one very special teacher—Janice Cashmore-Allen.
I opened the newspaper on New Year's Day to learn of Janice’s passing. I student taught with Janice 28 years ago at South Ogden Junior High School. Janice was a master teacher and the consummate professional. She was my friend and mentor and will be greatly missed. When I consider "the legacy of distant teachers" in my life, Janice is at the top of the list. Although no longer with us, Janice’s influence on my life continues. Therein is the legacy of a teacher!
Since becoming superintendent, I have been in dozens of classrooms throughout our district and observed numerous master teachers. Weber School District is fortunate to have dedicated, caring teachers and professionals who shape and impact children's lives. One paradox of teaching is that although typically occurring in large-group settings, the effects are always individual. Great teachers possess the capacity to connect with each student. These connections are held not in teachers' methods but in their hearts. Although the rewards of teaching are not always tangible, be assured that you will be among "the legacy of distant teachers" as your students reflect on those who have influenced them. I thank each of you for your great efforts!