It takes a village

November 10, 2009

I was the guest speaker this week for the Henry County Retired Teachers and met a fabulous group of former educators.   Since I truly believe “It takes a village to raise a child,” I thanked them for their years of service to young people and I began to think about all the teachers in my life who helped shape me into the human being I am today.     

I wondered whatever happened to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Trebilcock?  For many of us, our first grade teachers are special.  They set the tone for the next dozen or more years of our learning.  Mrs. Trebilcock was special.  She was just the right mix of strict and fun, challenging us to do our best but always available with a hug if we needed one.   When the prized music box I brought for show and tell fell off the desk and shattered on the floor, it was Mrs. Trebilcock who helped pick up the pieces of glass, and my heart. 

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Canny was special too.  I was in an accelerated learning program that year and Mrs. Canny made learning fun, teaching us to use our critical thinking skills by playing bridge and taking us on field trips to art museums and historical sites. 

Junior High offered me an incredible science teacher, Mr. Bogger (pronounced bo-jer), whose enthusiasm for chemistry literally bubbled over like our test-tube experiments gone wrong.   Even kids who didn’t get good grades in any other subject tried their hardest to impress Mr. Bogger.  Mr. Gregory was the history teacher who made the mission of the “Enola Gay” come to life for me, and Ms. Holzer was the Home Economics teacher who was determined to teach me how to thread the bobbin on the sewing machine.   My projects weren’t blue-ribbon material, but her encouragement helped me feel great about my accomplishments, and gave me the courage to try new things. 

In high school, my English teachers Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Mathews instilled in me a love for reading and writing that I treasure still.  Mrs. Susan helped me navigate the world of algebra, trigonometry and functions.  “Killer” Hiller assigned me history projects that sent me into the streets of Old Town Alexandria and Washington DC mapping the city and looking for examples of federalist architecture.  I learned how to write an exceptional research paper in his class.   Mr. Aiken, my choral director, pushed me to develop my vocal talent, and encouraged me to perform in numerous shows and state competitions, sometimes driving me there himself if I needed a ride. 

Those teachers, and so many others I didn’t name here, helped me not only to learn facts and figures, but to apply that knowledge to help solve real-world problems.  They helped me develop my confidence, courage, and self-esteem.  They used their talents to develop me into a better person.   I’m so thankful they were part of my village.



  1. Hi Chrys: This is the first time I have read your blog and it was wonderful. I am not a teacher but my brother and daughter-in-law and a good friend are. They put up with a lot and are mostly under-appreciated, but every once in a while someone like you will step up and remind us all how dedicated they are and how fortunate we were to have them teaching us. Thanks for doing that. You are very special.

  2. Thanks, Deb! We love our teachers!!

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