Teachers Touch the Future

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! Being a teacher has taken on new meaning during the current coronavirus pandemic. Overnight, schools shut down and lessons moved online.

classroom picuture of teacher and students

My kindergarten class picture – I’m in the first row, far right

Although it was many, many years ago (long before the internet was a thing), I can still remember my kindergarten teacher. Her name was Mrs. Schiller. In the summer after school was out, my mother invited her to our house for cookies and tea. In my mind it was like having the Queen of England come to visit. And ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher. I would play school, writing on the blackboard with chalk. When I was 10, I even taught my 3-year-old sister the state capitals, because that’s what I was learning in school. I would point to a state on the map on the wall and she dutifully replied with the capital city. I probably should have focused on teaching her something more age appropriate than 5th grade geography. Oh well, she survived, and went on to become a college professor. Now she is one of the many parents ensuring their children are learning at home. I did go one to study education, and my teaching degree led me to a career in Extension.

It’s also National Nurses Week. Nurses are among the essential workers in our world, even before the pandemic hit. Did you ever stop to think – who teaches the nurses to be nurses? Today I’d like to spotlight someone who does just that – my sister-in-law. She’s been a nurse for 37 years, in a variety of different positions – staff nurse in a large hospital, oncology nurse, head nurse, hospice nurse, home care nurse, and nurse educator in a hospital setting.

Group of women

Teacher and her nursing students

Now she has been teaching future nurses for about 20 years. She is an adjunct faculty member at a university, where her current job is being a clinical instructor. As a clinical instructor, she helps students take what they have learned in the classroom and put it into practice. She helps students learn how to provide care directly to patients. Clinical instruction blends the art and the science of nursing.

As you can imagine, this type of class depends on working directly with people. She said it was a “huge challenge” to all of a sudden have to teach this type of class remotely, but she and the students all worked together and learned a lot. Her students are now graduating and entering the field as nurses. They wanted to become nurses “to care for others,” “to make a difference” in other people’s lives, and “to be a sense of comfort and support in their times of need.”

There are many different types of nurses and teachers. A career as a teacher or nurse is very rewarding. Maybe one of these careers is for you!

Teacher Appreciation Week is reminder to take time out to thank the teachers in our lives. And thank your parents for being your teachers during the school shutdown. See our activity page to get your thoughts down on paper. Teachers often don’t know if they’ve made a difference – it will make a teacher’s day if you send a note to them.

Download today’s journal page to write a thank you letter to a teacher.


Yours in health,




Daily Dose- Superheroes – Ordinary and Extraordinary

teenagers in a line wearing capes

Camp counselors wearing capes at a superhero-themed camp

Although they have their beginnings in mythology, many trace the rise of superheroes in the U.S. to the late 1930s. This was a time when the U.S. was suffering from the fall-out of the Great Depression and before entering World War II.

What makes a superhero? Superheroes have some kind of extraordinary power. They fight crime or use their talents to do some good. They try to make the world a better place. They are clever in how they use tools and technology (think Superman’s cape, Spiderman’s webs, and the Batmobile). Another part of the appeal of superheroes is that they give us someone to look up to. And they wear costumes! Now every year at Halloween there are bound to be children (and adults) dressed up as the classic Superman and Batman, as well as the popular superhero of the day.

In the book titled Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes, 10 Ways to Save the World, Which One Do We Need Most Now?, author Travis Smith floats the idea that it is not their superpowers that make them so super. Instead, it is their character and qualities, which guide what they do with their power. He said that superheroes represent “the qualities that human beings must cultivate in order to confront the quandaries of ordinary life.” In other words, they point out the qualities that will help us to be better people.

As super as they are, superheroes aren’t perfect. After all, Superman has his kryptonite. Through these characters we can learn to turn our weaknesses into advantages. In that way, they are a symbol of hope, that you can overcome challenges and make yourself into a better person.

3 girls wearing Superman costumes

Camp counselors are superheroes!

Who are our modern-day superheroes? Perhaps today we have a new idea of superhero, a time when ordinary people are doing extraordinary things. They don’t wear capes – they wear scrubs and lab coats and the uniforms of police and firefighters. They work in schools and hospitals and homes. They are “disguised” as the ordinary people who drive trucks with needed supplies, stock shelves in our grocery stores, and drive public transportation. They work long hours to fight an invisible enemy. They are the essential workers of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Spider-Man 2, Aunt May reminds Peter Parker that “there’s a hero in all of us.” Today, my heroes are 4-H teen leaders sewing masks and matching 4-H members as pen pals. It’s families using 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for medical staff. You are a superhero when you stay home, even when it’s hard, and when you wear a mask to keep others safe.

Download Today’s 4-H Journal Here!

Yours in Health,