Celebrating Teachers and Learners

March 9, 2009

Thanks, Mrs. Berman.

That name came back to me this weekend at our annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning. For the fourth year in a row, the Celebration provided a place for teachers from across the country to come together and shape the future of education. We had great guests like Governor Paterson, Google CEO Eric Schmidt (see recent Charlie Rose interview), celebrity math advocate Danica McKellar, and “Hawkeye” himself, Alan Alda of our upcoming show The Human Spark. Teachers were able to hear from these guests and many others in sessions that should have them returning to the classroom bursting with new ideas.

Alan Alda and Neal Shapiro at the 2009 Celebration
of Teaching and Learning (photo: Joe Sinnott)

The weekend reminded me of the educators who have touched my life. Mrs. Berman was my fourth grade teacher, and every day when I walked into school I would tell her what happened on the Today Show that morning. One day, when I wasn’t paying attention to the TV in the kitchen, I had nothing to tell Mrs Berman. Something felt wrong to me… but I didn’t quite know what it was. “I think you like telling people what happened,” she told me. “You know, some people do that as a career. Maybe that would be good for you?”

And I remember Mr. Yoachim, who led the middle school orchestra in which I played the violin. I knew I would never be a professional violinist, but whenever I hear a symphony, I am grateful for the knowledge about just how hard it is to make great music.

And I remember Helen Adler, who taught literature in my high school and opened my eyes to great authors and great works, not just on the page but on the screen as well.

So here I am, lucky enough to be at WNET.ORG, where our people and companies we work with produce the best in news, music and arts and culture.

And… I’m still learning.