"I grew up in a very small town. The kind of town where you can't go anywhere without seeing someone you know. So when I went back for a visit earlier this month, it wasn't the least bit unusual that I ran into several of my old teachers. What surprised me was how much I remember about being their student.
When I saw Mr. G, my former elementary school principal, I thought back to my first day at the school, which I transferred to in the middle of first grade. Mr. G walked me to my new classroom, which he assured me I'd like. I was shocked that someone so tall (and so old) could be so nice to a little kid. Looking back, it was his kindness (along with the new friends I made at recess) that helped me get past my new-school jitters.
I also caught up briefly with my second grade teacher, Mrs. G (no relation), who taught me to write in cursive. At that age I was incredibly shy and didn't say much in class. Mrs. G recognized that I was more comfortable writing than talking, and encouraged me to do more of both.
Another day I talked with Mrs. H, my sixth grade teacher. I don't recall much about our lessons, but I remember a lot about Mrs. H. As we were dealing with our daily adolescent dramas, she kept a reassuring order in her classroom and required that we treat one another with respect.
I'll bet that every one of you has similar stories of teachers who taught you as much about life as they did math or social studies. As your kids get to know their new teachers, don't forget to thank them for doing the same thing.