This is a column I wrote back in 2008. With the current state of education cuts in Michigan and what seems like growing movement by some state politicians against teachers, I thought I’d offer a little moral support. There are many good teachers out there who deserve praise…
I’ve reconnected with a few friends, former sources and even some long-lost family in the weeks since I came to work here at the Davison Index and VIEW Newspapers. I couldn’t believe how many people got in touch after seeing my name and face in the paper, and it made me feel good to know so many people remembered me and took the time to drop me a line.
But the one person who came completely out of the blue was my former journalism teacher at Davison High School, Jo-An Simon. Now retired, Simon contacted me by e-mail and it was a surprise — to say the least.
She offered one correction to my introductory column a couple weeks ago — she pointed out that I actually began my journalism career as part of the staff of the then-Davison High School newspaper The Innovator.
How could I have forgotten to mention that? Those were the good ol’ days when we wrote stories about new policies in the school, the latest fads and trends and we even had our own staff astrologer who gave readers their horoscopes weekly.
I also remember that we had to design and lay out the newspaper by hand, cutting and pasting the articles. We took the completed pages to a print shop somewhere in Burton and dropped them off once a month so they could be essentially be Xeroxed and picked back up at a later date.
We distributed our newspaper around the halls and lunchroom of the high school, hawking our product for 25 cents to whomever we could get to buy from us. It was raw, gritty journalism and we loved every minute of it – but we didn’t always have our fans.
As a high school newspaper we didn’t enjoy the complete freedom of the press which is standard for the media. We were subject to the school censors who demanded a certain amount of cooperation from us.
Ah, good times.
Anyway, hearing from Simon brought back a lot of fond memories of my high school newspaper days, and I thanked her for her encouraging and supporting me. There were two teachers in my school days who really had an influence on me — one was Simon, who helped me find my niche in journalism, and the other was my second-grade teacher at Gates Elementary in Davison, Chris Noteware, who simply made me want to write —as much as I could.
If you’re reading Chris, I’m still working on making it so you can see my name on a library shelf some day. Hang in there!
Teachers like these are what our kids need today. They are committed to education and toward helping young minds find direction. For me, these teachers saw my love for writing and steered me on a path where I could do something with that ability. They could have just come to work every day, done their job and not offered that support or advice, but they did and for that I am thankful.
I hope my own kids are just as fortunate. So far, I’ve seen some pretty good teachers guiding them along so I don’t think I will be disappointed.