Today, educators around the nation are being recognized for National Teacher Appreciation Day.
It's a day that has been celebrated each Tuesday the first full week of May since 1985. The National-Parent Teacher Association and NEA (National Education Association) created the holiday to celebrate "the work of teachers, and honor the impact they have on students' lives".
This year, the associations have created the #ThankATeacher campaign to honor the teachers we love and will never forget.
A teacher I will never forget, was a lady I first met on a very hot August day in 1995. She was to become my second grade teacher and little did I know, one of the biggest influences of my life. Her name was Mrs. Mary Rankin and she was indeed unforgettable.
This morning, I was reunited with Mrs. Rankin for the first time in twenty one years. We discussed her teaching career here in Madison County from 1979 until her retirement in 2004. She fondly recalled the memories she shared with her students, also known as "Rankin Babies", at Walnut Grove, West Madison, Madison School, and Horizon Elementary.
Mrs. Rankin said her biggest reward from her teaching career are those relationships, which she will always treasure.
"And they come back and they tell you what you meant to them.
What that does to me, it just gives me this huge blessing and joy inside.
I kinda knew that the children liked me.
But it's a joy knowing that they truly, deep down, loved me, just like I loved them," said Rankin.
Although she's been retired for thirteen years now, Mary Rankin hasn't slowed down. She is still very involved with children, directing the children's choir at St. John AMEA Church, as well as her seven grandchildren.
Mrs. Rankin says, "I just don't think that I'm gonna ever not have a kid in my life. It's probably not going to happen until I'm no longer here. Kids are my life."
If you would like to join the NEA and National PTA for their #ThankATeacher salute to teachers everywhere, simply share one of the following on social media during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13:
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