From the editor:

Lessons learned

Nov. 14, 2018

Recently, a series of events occurred that put me back in contact with someone I had gone to high school with. I hadn’t spoken to him in years, but once I did, I started thinking back about those days. We sang in choir together and that started me thinking about our vocal music teacher, Mr. Ballard. Boy, he was a character larger than life. He not only created an incredible program with more than 500 students in our school involved, he really did inspire all of us in different ways.

As much as we liked to joke about the cheesy sayings and life lessons he taught, I’m pretty sure deep down we paid attention. I know I did. He’d impart his wisdom on punctuality, respectable behavior, friendships, academics, character and more, in addition to scales and intonation. And, somewhere along the way, our lives were changed. Heck, I even met my husband because of choir.  

We all have those teachers — I have a whole roster of them who had a pretty significant impact in my life. (I’ve written about them before.) Once my daughter began school, she started her own list of teachers we’re both truly grateful for — like Mrs. Dunn, who welcomed the new girl to second grade and made her feel special. All these years later, my daughter and I are still Facebook friends with her. She’s also a Spartan — one of the proudest and most vocal ones I know.

Chances are pretty strong, especially if you’re from Michigan, that you’ve been taught by a Spartan. Chances are even stronger if you learned your lessons from a Spartan, you received an excellent education.

That’s because the lessons they learned at MSU turned them into exceptional educators. In fact, graduates of MSU’s elementary and secondary graduate programs take with them degrees from the #1 ranked programs in the country for 24 consecutive years. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Why I teach, to learn why our programs rise to the head of the class.

Margo Glew, coordinator of global initiatives and coordinator of the Global Educators Cohort Program, has visited schools all over the world and knows that we need highly qualified teachers more than ever. Read her FACULTY VOICE: The world is our classroom, to learn why she says that “for MSU teacher candidates, "Spartans Will" is not just a catchy phrase.”

Robert Floden is dean of the College of Education and understands that preparing teachers is about more than just about reading and writing. Read part of a letter he wrote to his college following the recent anti-Semitic attack in a Pittsburgh synagogue in the FACULTY VOICE: How educators can be the change, and why he believes teachers should “model kindness, compassion and empathy for one another.”

Casey McAndrew is doing her internship year as a kindergarten teacher and feels well prepared to put into practice everything she learned at MSU, including how to be a “social equity teacher.” Read her STUDENT VIEW: Kindergarten intern, to learn more about this dedicated Spartan who has a bright future in front of her.

Bernard Charles is a little further down the road in his career as a teacher. A graduate of MSU who was a member of the Urban Educators Cohort Program, he currently teaches at Renaissance High School in Detroit. He recently came up with a list of reasons why people say not to teach and countered with the list of reasons why he does it anyway. Check out his STUDENT VIEW: Teach, even when they say 'don't', to learn more about this inspiring young alumnus.

A long time ago I wanted to be a teacher. Somehow my life took different turns, but I still admire teachers and the life-changing work that they do every day. I think about all the lessons I’ve learned and how many teachers were a part of them. I know that without their skill, guidance and humanity, I wouldn’t be who I am today. There aren’t many professions who impact all of our lives so incredibly. Be grateful for your education. Be grateful for those Spartans who dedicate their lives to teaching tomorrow’s leaders. Think about your Mr. Ballard or Mrs. Dunn and be grateful they were part of your life. Spartans change the world. Spartan educators teach us how to do it. #SpartansWill

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone