Teacher Appreciation

This post is to my sweet husband, who has a career that I both admire and am completely baffled by at the same time. How he stands up in front of 20+ teenagers (most around 14-15 yrs) and actually teaches them something and here's the kicker: ENJOYS doing so, absolutely blows my mind! I have had the opportunity to "teach"/train a new employee at work for the last month and let me tell you: I would not last a semester as a high school teacher. It is not my gift. Teaching is not something I excel in or even remotely enjoy doing. Strange, isn't it? That Eric's heart could be so passionate about something that I dread doing even for a few weeks. Now this is not to say that I dislike teaching in every situation - I thoroughly enjoyed when I got to show Chris how to make a lasagna or when I had a bunch of Eric's girl students over for a bake/cook-a-thon a few years ago and we made 3 different types of cookies and 2 main dishes in 3 hours (uh - yeah! what was I thinking?!) Both examples, we all had a great time. That being said, it is still NOT my forte. Allow me to illustrate further. In the example with Chris, I got thrown off during our assembly process, we put in way too much ricotta cheese and though still delicious, it was not my usual breath-stopping fare. In my other example with the girls in FL, I got so flustered that in one of the batches of cookies, I forgot to add the dry ingredients. Um...can anyone guess how they turned out? They didn't!! We trashed the first pan after only 5 min. in the oven, when the gooey mess had spread across the whole pan. I realized what happened, we added the flour, b. soda, etc and surprise, surprise, we actually had cookies that time. I was so embarrassed, but the girls were so gracious and knew I was frantically trying to get too much done for the short time I had allotted. Great memories, but moral of the story? For Betsy: teaching = stress.

Now, let's look at my Math Man. If you have ever been around Eric explaining something, you know that it is an innate quality, a challenge he rises to with ease (if you haven't had this opportunity, ask him what the internet is sometime - it is a favorite of mine to listen to) ;) He thrives getting to explain things thoroughly with anyone interested (and in the case of his students, even some not interested in the topic at hand). The crazy thing is, he GETS them interested! How does someone do such a thing? Have you ever had a teacher in a subject that you just hate, but all of a sudden, you find it interesting b/c the teacher's enthusiasm is contagious? That is Eric!! He has been a favorite teacher among students since he student taught. In 2005, I was so proud of him to be awarded with the "Teacher of the Year" award at his school after only 1 year prior teaching experience. For Eric: teaching = fulfillment & joy.

This week is finals week, which also means it is the week for Christmas gifts from students who express appreciation. I look forward to it as much as Eric, b/c I am lucky enough that he shares the goods with me. ;) Sure enough, Monday he came home with all types of homemade, edible gifts. Everything from holiday bread, to truffles, to cookies and bars. And let me tell ya'll: the students of GDS make some darn, good cookies! My favorites were these coconut snowballs with a surprise maraschino cherry inside and the infamous 7-layer/ magic bars (whichever name floats your boat.) Eric's favorite were peanut butter blossoms (peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss in the middle). Now I really have holiday food taunting me from every direction; I was still working through leftover Christmas cookies from a cookie exchange the week before!
Oops, I've gotten off topic (I think my talent is to turn any conversation into a food discussion.)

All this to say that my respect has grown not only for what Eric does every day, but for how darn well he does it. I'm proud of you, Babe.


Eric Shilling said...

Thanks Sweet Pea!

Anonymous said...

If Eric can get ME to understand math...you know he's good!

My mom makes those magic cookie bars too...oh the death of me...so good!