Down the Backroads: Teachers Make Such a Difference in Our Lives

Posted on May 9, 2019

By Tim Thornberry

 

I’m not sure if this is an age thing or not, but it seems to me that the older I get the more I reflect on the past, taking in all the moments and memories that have guided me to where I am today as a person, a husband, a father, a soon-to-be grandfather, and a communicator.

In doing so, I often think of those who taught me along the way; my parents, bosses, friends, and other family members. For all these folks, I am eternally grateful.

And as much as I learned from those people, my school teachers were the ones, for the most part, who taught me the skills I use each and every day, at work, at home and in life; teachers like Mrs. Shouse, who taught me to read, and Mrs. Jenkins who taught me the love of reading. Mr. McRay taught me how cool science is, and Mrs. Perkins, taught me how important it is to know Kentucky’s history.

Mr. Shyrock taught me how to make a blueprint, without the use of a computer. Just so you know, laptops had not been invented at that time. Mrs. Perry taught me to type 40 words a minute. Unfortunately, that skill has left me. Sorry about that Mrs. P.

Coach Barriger taught me the proper use of forearms on the line of scrimmage. He also taught me that everyone…everyone, has great value. Mrs. Ross gave me the freedom to express myself with the written word. Professor Hill gave me the courage to use those words in the most effective way.

Mr. Bryant taught me that the History of the U.S. up to 1864 really was an exciting subject. He told stories with such compassion, I often had to hide my tears in his class.

Coach Reed taught me how to drive safely in Driver’s Ed class, and his wife taught me how to make hollandaise sauce in a class known, at the time, as “Bachelor Living.” What I really learned from Mrs. Reed was to read the instructions, follow the directions and marvel at my ability to create something I didn’t think I could.

Mr. Wash taught me the metric system and Mrs. Hughes, my yearbook sponsor, taught me the art of building a book from scratch. She also tried to teach me Algebra II. My apologies to you Mrs. H, as well.

It’s not so much that Mr. Guffy taught me the properties of logarithms; it’s that he taught me to problem-solve, and to be patient, and not to be afraid to ask a question when I didn’t understand something.

I am lucky in the sense that I had, collectively, the greatest teachers of all time, at least in my opinion. I’m not sure they ever realized the impact they had on me, and I’m certain I did not express to them, at the time, how great they all were.

I think a certain amount of time has to pass before we can truly appreciate those people who made a difference in our lives; led us in the right direction and taught us lessons that would benefit us as long as we live.  

There are many more of my former teachers, both from school-life and real-life who taught me valuable lessons. And whether they know it or not, I will cherish them always, as I travel down the backroads.