Last updated: May 06. 2013 10:22PM - 1495 Views

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FORGET THE debate over teacher pay and contract rancor, drop, for a moment, any envy of the (largely misguided) notion that all teachers get three months off each summer. Remember instead, the teacher who influenced you most, the educator who exposed you to your favorite avocation, the one who worked as mentor, coach or confidante

This is National Teacher day, and while there can be little doubt some would prefer to bash teachers, it is an excellent opportunity to remember the many things they do meriting praise.

As evidence, consider these results from a survey conducted by Kars4kids, a national charity that uses car donations to raise money for education:

· 80 percent of adults recognize that their work ethic, volunteer time, and even career choice was a direct result of teachers who inspired them.

· 78 percent had an out-of-classroom experience with their teacher enhancing learning.

· 61 percent believe that a teacher taught them skills outside of the standard curriculum.

· Nearly three quarters of adults said they would want their children to have the same teachers they did.

Or if you prefer celebrity roll models, there are these testimonies:

Oprah Winfrey has said she “wouldn’t be where I am today without my fourth grade teacher.” Hilary Swank cites a teacher for giving her “my first acting job in my school production of The Jungle Book”

Maybe you would consider a cue from politicians.

Paul Ryan credits a high school teacher who “taught me more about the world in six months than I had learned in 18 years.” John Kerry cites his school’s first black teacher for getting him “interested in the growing civil rights movement.’”

There is no end to the ways teachers helped, and help, shape lives. There is no shortage of testimonies to the value of a good teacher. And if you still need evidence, recall the sacrifice of the teachers trying to protect students during the Sandy Hook tragedy.

So go ahead, take a moment, remember the teacher you liked best. Thank the teacher your child raves about. Many of them work hard, care a great deal, and merit a moment of appreciation.

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