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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Teacher appreciation a few months early

January 26, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week is typically the first week of May. But January can be long, cold, and drab with mid-year assessments and paperwork taking up too much time. This seems like a good opportunity to remind all teachers just how important and wonderful you are! Every day you stand before very special people, and every day you have the power to ignite a spark that will last a lifetime.

Need some inspiration to get through January? Read How Mrs. Grady Transformed Olly Neal from last Sunday's New York Times. Olly was a poor, tough kid who gave Mrs. Grady (and other teachers) lots of grief. From the story, as reported by Nicholas Kristof:

One day in 1957, in the fall of his senior year, Neal cut Blakely's class and wandered in the library, set up by Grady, the English teacher whom he had tormented. Neal wasn't a reader, but he spotted a book with a risqué cover of a sexy woman.

Called "The Treasure of Pleasant Valley," it was by Frank Yerby, a black author, and it looked appealing. Neal says he thought of checking it out, but he didn't want word to get out to any of his classmates that he was reading a novel. That would have been humiliating.

"So I stole it."

What happened to Neal? What secret did Mrs. Grady hold for years? You'll have to read the story to find out. Or listen to Neal tell his story on StoryCorps.

Need more inspiration? Read Lisa Belkin's post Teacher's Words That Changed My Life or visit Thanks for Teaching.

Thank you, teachers!

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