Downwind"Appreciate a Teacher Today!" (Part 1)
The Illinois Farm Bureau ad on Teacher Appreciation Week shown below caused me to harken back to consider and remember teachers that influenced me. I am sure that all of us have teachers who impacted us greatly in life. I certainly do! I was surprised by the number of teachers that came to mind immediately. I do have a lot of “appreciating” to do! Let me begin!
I appreciate my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, and here is why:
Mrs. Anderson taught me in 2nd grade at a tiny, 3-class school (part of of the Aledo school district) in Mercer County, Illinois. In the middle of my second grade year of school, my Dad, the Farmer, and Mom were provided with a new farming opportunity. We moved over Christmas break and I started the difficult task of attending a new school as a part of ROVA school district in Knox County, Illinois. A few weeks later, I received a huge envelope from Mrs. Anderson filled with letters from my classmates letting me know that they missed me and wished me well. What an awesome gesture! I still have that packet of “Dear Bobby” letters today!
Ironically, when I began working with the Farm Bureau, the IAA Credit Union had a long time employee by the name of Brent Anderson who happens to be my second grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson’s husband. It was great to become reacquainted. Furthermore, the Anderson’s son, Kent, worked for Farm Bureau Affiliate, Country Trust Bank. I had the privilege of working with Kent as the Cook County Farm Bureau’s investment advisor for several years. It is a small world.
Mrs. Anderson was a teacher with impact!
I appreciate my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Nelson, and here is why:
Mr. Nelson taught 5th grade at Victoria Elementary School. Each day, following lunch and a recess of tag, baseball, and falling off the monkey bars, Mr. Nelson would spend a few minutes reading a book to the class (to attempt to settle down some wound up kids?). I vividly remember him reading this amazing fantasy book entitled “The Hobbit”. I did not want him to stop reading. In fact, I begged him to borrow the book for a night and I promptly went home and devoured the words from J.R.R. Tolkien. I have read and re-read the book (and now watched and re-watched the movie) for many years now.
Mr. Nelson also led an elementary school “experiences” program in which students at Victoria Grade School were introduced to activities outside of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Two of those activities I was introduced to in 5th grade are at the center of hobbies that I treasure today: flyfishing and road biking.
Victoria Grade School
I was so lousy as I tried to cast a fly rod at age 11, not understanding the “load/unload” casting concept at the time (while only marginally better, I do understand the concept now!).
I also remember road biking on those country blacktops with my long-handled coasterbrake bicycle with a banana seat and being so envious of my classmates with those fancy bikes featuring multiple “gears” and “skinny tires” whenever a hill approached! No, it did not have a bell and a basket.
Mr. Nelson was a teacher with impact!
I appreciate a “guest” teacher, Mr. Sommer, and here is why:
We had a guest speaker at the Victoria Grade School (2nd or 3rd grade) come in from Country Companies Insurance to talk to the class. The speaker was Doug Sommer from the Country Companies Insurance Community Relations department. His topic was bike safety, using the “Ready Rider” educational program.
Later, while in high school, Mr. Sommer came for my driver’s education class about the impact of safe driving and a skid demonstration.
Finally, I worked with Mr. Sommer and his counterparts with Safety training at the County Farm Bureau level for years (as recently as 2019, as an independent contractor, Mr. Sommer taught defensive driving at Cook County Farm Bureau!).
Talk about a guest speaker with impact!
I appreciate our CCFB Ag in the Classroom teachers and here is why:
Consider this…the Cook County Farm Bureau began its Ag in the Classroom Program in 1986. Since that time, our Ag Literacy Teachers have brought the story of farmers and agricultural products to the classroom of hundreds of thousands of students. I have to wonder how many “life impacts” to grade school students we been fortunate enough to be a part of?
As guest “teachers”, our Ag Literacy Presenters skillfully blend farming facts, modern production, the farm-to-fork story, terminology, and impactful hands-on activities to create life impact moments!
Every day, during the school year, your Cook County Farm Bureau Ag Literacy Program and the teachers that support us are having an impact on somebody within and outside of the organization.
These presenters have great impact!
Do any of the above individuals know the impact they had on my life? (Probably not unless they accidentally read this column). However, these and other teachers have had a huge impact on me and many others!
Cook County Farm Bureau is proud to have many teachers that are members. In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, I just want to express true thanks to our teaching members on behalf of the Cook County Farm Bureau for all you do to impact people (like me) every day!
Next Month…Part 2 of my Teacher Appreciation column: high school, college, and beyond!