As a high school student, my teachers had a profound impact on my development as a student and as a person. They believed in me before I did, and they provided me with opportunities to stretch beyond my comfort zone and build my confidence. Thanks to them, I left high school knowing that I would always have a life in the world of education.
I remember the day I decided to become a teacher. I was sitting in Mr. Kay’s Physiology class, in the third row from the classroom door, two seats from the front. It was the fall of my junior year and until that moment, I hadn’t thought much about what career I might want to pursue. But sitting at my desk, listening to Mr. Kay describe oxygen debt and hypoxia, I had a moment of absolute clarity that determined my life’s course.
While that moment occurred without any fanfare, the conversations with my teachers afterward were moving. I took the next few weeks to find every teacher who made an impact on me, saying “thank you,” and telling them that they were part of the reason why I decided to become a teacher. That message brought each one of them to tears.
We have all experienced the jolt of excitement that comes from being beside someone who is truly passionate about a topic. Great teachers exude that passion. Most importantly, they cultivate that passion in the people around them.
As a student, that passion led me to the world of teaching. As the President of Mid-Pacific, I feel like the luckiest person in the world because I witness that passion every day. I see and hear our teachers engaging with students and sparking the joy of learning in our classrooms, across our beautiful campus, and in the Honolulu community while working with our many partners.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide a never-ending set of challenges, it has not stopped our teachers from practicing Mid-Pacific’s method of Deeper Learning within our classrooms. Even in the face of physical distancing and hybrid-virtual learning, they are unrelenting in finding ways to cultivate the joy of learning for our students. Our teachers are inspirational because they know that emotion drives attention; that attention drives learning; and that deeper learning transcends the restrictions and limitations of a pandemic.
We cannot truly measure the depth of great teaching or its impacts on the dreams of students. We can, however, take time to celebrate our teachers for being an inspiration for students day after day. After reading about our incredible faculty in the pages that follow, I hope you find this edition of Mid-Pacific Today inspiring and invigorating, and I invite you to reach out and say, “thank you” to our teachers. I know it will mean the world to them.
E Kūlia Kākou,
(Let’s strive and aspire together)
Paul Turnbull, Ph.D.