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Carole Meekins: Positively Milwaukee

Thank a Teacher

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Do you ever think back on your past, and remember a teacher that really made a mark? Several have in my life. But one in particular was a woman many students feared when I lived in San Antonio Texas. Mrs. Janert was famous for giving homework that included heaven forbid, term papers. We were responsible for writing at least 10 pages if I can remember. That seemed almost impossible when you were in junior high. It always seemed as Mrs. Janert took great glee in assigning an essays or term papers. She was serious. We had to use footnotes, references, proper style, and of course, grammar, punctuation, and spelling had to be correct. Mrs. Janert was tough, and fierce in our eyes. We wondered why she made us work so hard. We lamented, labored, and feared writing these term papers. Many were shocked that we had so much homework. After all, we were not even in high school! It meant hours in the library, pouring over big reference books and encyclopedias. (Long before GOOGLE was a word..smiles) Many times I have thought back about Mrs. Janert and her strict English class. I have thought about her determination to force us to comprehend the importance of writing term papers. And to understand that we can learn from such assignments. She was strict when it came to writing clearly, concisely, and using transitional phrases. But many times when I was in high school and college, her devotion came back to me. It was a gift. It came in handy when so many times when I was assigned term papers and essays. I even found that I enjoyed working on them. Research was an excellent way to learn a subject. I'll never forget one professor told me my term paper was the best he had ever seen. I was so proud. I was beaming. But as I smiled and said thank you, I could not help but remember the tiny blonde lady with pink lipstick and immovable hair, whose writing class left a permanent mark on my life. Mrs. Janert often said in class that we would thank her when we got older. Well she was right! I have been thanking her for many years for giving me a wonderful start. Great teachers are like angels on earth. They are charged with one of life's most noble professions. They are unsung heroes, quiet leaders, the true torchbearers. They carry on God's work. Not for fame, fortune, or money. But for the greater good. God Bless teachers.

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