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Teachers make A difference

The Way I See It

August 18, 2013
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

From Kindergarten, and even Pre-School, on through the 12 grade, students will very soon beginning another chapter in their lives--as will each teacher. Everyone begins fresh and pretty much on the same level field. It's up to each student to decide how their school year will be and it's also up to the teacher to "stir up the gift" that's in each student. Neither task will be easy. Here is a true story about one such student, named Steve and a special teacher, Mrs. McGivver. Their names have been changed.

Steve was 12 years old and entering the 7th grade. His father was mostly a hard working man who was seldom at home and his mother after her day at work usually enjoyed a couple drinks too many. Steve was usually left to just fend for himself. For the past several years in school, Steve was failing and it seemed that the "system" was failing him also. He'd been passed from grade to grade, usually showing only average skills but a very apathetic attitude. He didn't have many friends and he was just drifting through our educational system. In fact, Steve went through school unnoticed...Mrs. McGivver!

Mrs. McGivver was a seasoned teacher with a no nonsense air about her. After years of teaching, she knew just about everything there was to know about teaching and about students.

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From the first day of class, Steve showed little initiative to learn. The very first quiz he took, he failed miserably. Didn't even try. And Mrs. McGivver knew it. He wouldn't hand in his homework, never raised his hand to answer a question and continued to fail quizzes and tests. It looked again like nothing in his life was going to change His home life was the same. No one cared there. He was a loner at school and at home. One morning at school, Mrs. McGivver was at her wit's end with Steve and yelled, "Steve, pay attention." This startled Steve and embarrassed him. At the end of the day, Mrs. McGivver wanted to speak to Steve. "Steve," she said, "You are failing my class and I don't understand it because you are the smartest kid in the class. Now I'm gonna try everything I can to excel."

With that meeting with his teacher, Steve declared war. He now defiantly refused to do anything. But Mrs. McGivver was just as defiant with her plan. It was war!

"Just try it! ONE WEEK!" Steve was unmoved.

"Come on, Steve, you're smart enough to do this. You'll see a change." Nothing fazed Steve. He even smirked with deviance.

"Give yourself a chance. Don't give up on your life." No matter what Mrs. McGivver said or tried to do made a difference.

"Steve! Please! I care about you!"

What? Wow! Someone cared! Someone actually cared about him? A teacher who a few months earlier didn't even know who he was CARED ABOUT HIM? For as long as Steve could remember, no one really cared. People went through the motions of caring but no one really cared.

It didn't change over night but a change was birthed that day. Steve began turning in his homework more frequently, started improving his test scores and every now and then even raised his hand to answer a question, Mrs. McGivver asked. From that moment that Steve realized someone cared, nothing was ever the same for Steve. Oh, life at home remained pretty much the same, but his life still was changed. He discovered that not only could he learn but that he was good at it and it was fun learning. In fact, Steve began to excel...for the first time in his life.

After graduating, Steve enlisted in the Navy and had a successful military career. During that time, he met the love of his life and the two of them raised a family. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from college and after his career in the Navy, where he inspired dozens of young men and women, he ventured forth on his second career---that of being a teacher. Years later, Steve spoke at Mrs MGivver's funeral and shared his story about one very important fact; "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

So to all the students and their teachers---HAVE A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR AND KNOW THAT SOMEONE CARES ABOUT YOU! That's The Way I See It. Let me know how you see things at or call me at 319-327-4640.



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