Fingerprints go two ways.
I have learned that as teachers, we leave figurative fingerprints on our students’ lives everyday. Students take with them into their futures the ideas and skills that we directly and indirectly impart. Students too leave their fingerprints on us. I am a better person because I teach and learn with and from my students. Michelangelo spoke wisely on his eighty-eighth birthday when he uttered “Ancora imparo.” Translated this means “I am still learning.” I am inspired to think of someone so accomplished and experienced still so open to the idea that there is much to learn. His fingerprints are on the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel. To locate a teacher’s legacy, look for people who love to read, think, and explore the world.
Teachers across our great country are passionate, patriotic people.
Working with the 2012 State Teachers of the Year and my colleagues at my school every day, I have been confirmed in some universal truths about teachers, not the least of which is that we are primarily motivated to teach as an act of patriotism, a desire to make a difference, and a willingness to encourage and educate children who are not our own as if they were.
It is not easy being a teacher nowadays.
Being a teacher has never been easy, but it is especially challenging nowadays. Too many students come to school dripping with pain and disenfranchisement – severely lacking discipline, love, and character-building role models. Teachers are being held accountable for much that happens to our students when we are not with them. We are told simply to work harder to overcome challenges and asked to drag our children across the finish line.
Parents can and must help teachers in our work.
Every year, teachers across the nation send home wish lists of supplies to support learning throughout the year. But what should parents have in their “backpacks” to support learning? Start with a dinner plate, a day planner and alarm clock, a ruler, “cheer gear,’ and books. Kids who value education and come to school supported and ready to learn are parents’ best gifts to education and the world.
Reading and writing well matter.
I have learned that reading is key and writing well matters. As an English teacher in the high school classroom, of course reading, writing, and oral communications serve as my GPS in the world, orienting every move, thought, or decision. But teaching for fourteen years in a large high school has confirmed the absolute power of literacy skills. To be college and career ready and to be better prepared for marriage, parenthood, and community involvement, students need to read often and write well – not only to make livings but also to make life more meaningful, safe, and happy.
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.
Julie Lima Boyle works in a large high school in Coventry, Rhode Island, as an English teacher. She also serves as ELA Curriculum Coordinator and department chairperson. She has been teaching for fourteen years and was selected as the Rhode Island 2012 Teacher of the Year. Her B.A. and M.A in English were earned at Rhode Island College. She completed her teacher certification at Providence College and studied abroad at SouthBank University in London, England.
As a teacher, Boyle works to always be evolving, honing, researching, and finding new ways to communicate a love of reading and writing. She wears a bracelet that states “ Ancora imparo.” This is a quote from Michelangelo which translates to “I am still learning.” She embraces this phrase and strives to learn and develop as an educator each day. Improving knowledge of technology is a goal that is important to Boyle because students are increasingly relying on technology as their primary mode of processing and learning. Support of colleagues and mentors have been essential in Julie’s development and growth as an educator.
She resides in Cranston, Rhode Island, with her husband Shawn. Her favorite pastimes include letter writing, walking, cooking, travel, and reading.