Superintendent to new teachers: Make a real, positive difference in this world

By Josh Beavers

Teachers are returning to school houses all across the parish today, but new educators had an early welcome during an orientation held last week in Minden.

The new Webster educators were addressed by Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland before spending the day going over some of the ins and outs of the system, classroom management techniques, and getting a little more comfortable for Day 1 of the school year.

Rowland, a former teacher, coach, and principal, told The Journal that he wasn’t giving a speech. Instead he was just telling the truth and speaking from his heart.

He spoke for about 15 minutes on the importance of teachers in the lives of our young people. He outlined personal stories about students he taught and how a teacher should never underestimate or give up on their pupils.

“Students will never be able to define a great teacher until they have one,” he told the crowd of about 40. He waited a moment before continuing, letting his words sink in. “Be that great teacher. Be that positive influence in these young people’s lives.”

The superintendent discussed the importance and nobility of education, pointing out teachers work with the most important resource in the world – our children, our young people.

“You have a tremendous responsibility and also a tremendous power to do good,” he told the new educators. “More than any other job, a teacher has the power to make the world a better place.”

Relating his own personal stories from the classroom, he emphasized how much of a positive impact a teacher can have, how much of a mark a teacher can make on the life of a young person.

“When you teach more and more students you may not remember them all, but they will remember you,” he said. “Think about your own experiences. You may not remember all your college professors but you remember your elementary, junior high and high school teachers. Realize the opportunity you have to be that remarkable person for your students.”

School begins Thursday in Webster Parish. That’s in two days, and all those new teachers will be in front of a group of students, leading the way, for the first time. The time has come to dive in.

“You became a teacher because you love children and want to make a real, positive difference in this world,” Rowland said. “Your chance begins Thursday.”

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