Last Wednesday, the Teacher Education Unit sponsored an appreciation event for area teachers who have welcomed our students into their classrooms for early field placements and/or for student teaching.   It was great to see so many big-hearted teachers from surrounding schools gathered in one room.  These professionals not only share their knowledge with our students, they also teach by example.

The guest speaker for the event was Jay Rifenbury.  In my introduction, I quoted some words from his book, “No Excuse.”  He said, “It’s impossible to succeed alone.  It takes the cooperative, interdependent effort of many people to accomplish anything worthwhile.”  All who touch the lives of our students have an equal opportunity to make a significant, positive, difference.  This includes adjuncts, professors, lecturers, advisors, field supervisors, teachers, nurses, counselors, personal trainers, social workers, speech-language pathologists, and professional guides, to name a few.  

Many programs in our division could not exist without the kindness and generosity of area professionals.  Each semester, I enjoy an event where professionals from area agencies and students in the Human Development and Family Relations program come together and speak about their appreciation for each other.  The stories told touch the hearts of everyone in the room and reinforce why we invest so much in our students.  We depend on off-campus professionals to help bridge the gap between knowledge and application.  They also serve a critical role in the maturation of our students.   I’ve heard a number of students come back from their off-campus experiences saying that they felt like they, “finally grew up.” 

It does take an interdependent effort to educate our students.  I am thankful for each professional, on campus and off campus, who year after year helps students lay down stepping stones on the paths to their better selves and careers. The title/position of the professional is not as important as his/her heart and example.