By Michael Partnow
My amazing wife MaryAnn is better known to many as Miss MaryAnn. I cannot imagine how many pages I would write to describe her many awesome personal qualities. On the professional front, Miss MaryAnn is an incredibly dedicated, passionate, hardworking leader and successful pre-school teacher. She owns and teaches in the pre-school and truly loves what she does. She has operated the school for north of 15 years and it is amazing that not only do many of the students regularly come back to visit, but they are driving there these days! Soon enough — I know it’s crazy to think this — but many will be bringing their own children to the school.
I recently visited her at “work.” She does not consider it to be work… it’s such a happy place. One that is filled with laughter, learning, friendships and the occasional sob from a child that misses their mommy or daddy.
As I walked through the building, I looked at the pictures and read the many handwritten notes and cards (many in crayon) of gratitude she has received throughout the years. I am so grateful as even our children had the benefit to be taught by their mommy, Miss MaryAnn. If you ask our three wonderful children who their favorite teacher is, they will all say “Miss MaryAnn”.
This got me thinking. Did I ever stop and think about that special teacher in my life? While some of us are so very fortunate that we had a few special teachers, who is THE one that truly stands out and has had a profound impact on your life? I’ll give you a few minutes to think about this. Go back as early as you can. Perhaps recalling the name of your pre-school teacher may be tough, so maybe start with kindergarten or your early childhood education. Here’s something fun—try to recite the names of all of your teachers. As you recall the not-so-favorite ones, you can let a sigh out.
Now, back to the assignment class. Who is that one teacher? Who was your Miss MaryAnn? For me, it was Mr. Balter. Mr. Balter was my 7th grade science teacher. He had a terrible reputation, and I must admit that he lived up to it during the first few months of class. We were petrified of Mr. Balter. He had a tough demeanor. He had incredibly high expectations and being kind, it was not fun being in his classroom. The setting was cold, and I remember Mr. Balter would have a pot of coffee on the over-sized granite slab that he heated using a Bunsen burner!
So, what was it about Mr. Balter? For me, there were a number of things – he did not tolerate mediocrity. He cared about us and was not concerned about his own likeability. He sacrificed his own likeability, he did not beat around the bush and called nonsense when we were not living up to his expectations or even more-so, what he knew, and what we did not know, what we were truly capable of. He was firm. He was not concerned that he might be viewed as the enemy so long as he brought out the best in us. I am sure there were several more but overall, he taught me to always challenge myself. He put in my yearbook (that I still recall today) “Part-now, Some-later work harder!”
The assignment does not end here. I know there might be a number of over-achievers reading this and there is some extra credit. It’s actually the most important part of the assignment. Have you tried to reach out to that one teacher who had a profound influence on your life, and said ‘thank you’? Have you ever tried to let him / her know the magnitude of the impact he / she has had on you? For readers who have a child in school, please encourage your child — no matter what age to do this too.
It’s not too late. Track down that teacher. If the teacher has passed, think about how special it would be to track down one of their family members and share your fondness.
“What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased.” Thank you, to all the TEACHERS.
Michael S. Partnow is the Head of Wealth Management at JIFFY.ai. JIFFY.ai’s intelligent automation platform enables enterprises to build business applications that run their processes end to end. Using cognitive capabilities such as intelligent document processing, AI, RPA, ML and advanced analytics, these apps learn and adapt to changing situations impacting the business landscape, and even mimic human thinking and actions intelligently.
Contact Michael at [email protected]