Many teachers rescued me through the years. I wish they were still with us so I could hug them and say thanks.

Karen, my wife, alerted me that National Teacher Appreciation Week started yesterday, May 8, and today is Teacher’s Day in America. So, I want to start this day by saying, THANK YOU, to anyone reading this blog who is an educator. You are a national treasure, a blessing to our children. I appreciate you.

Teachers leave such a lasting imprint on us, don’t they? I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Shehee. I lagged academically, and she gave me lots of time and attention to prepare me for the transition to the middle grades. And when I landed in Mrs. Bruce’s 7th grade English Class at Orville Wright Junior High, I found my first crush…a gifted instructor who spotted my natural strengths in reading and writing. (Dear Lord, she was cute!) A year later, sweet Mrs. Maniese, my drama teacher, shared her ardor for the stage, and opened up a whole new world of acting for me.

Likewise, my history teacher at West L.A. College sparked a love for American history that still burns. Thus, my preferred genre…historical fiction.

I could go on. So could you.

Here I am writing about them 50 years later. That’s huge impact.

But Sophie Mizrahi, my precious mom, stands tall as the most important educator in my formative years. When my second grade teacher informed her that I struggled with reading, Mom sat with me for a half-hour every night for one year; we did flash card exercises until I caught up. Her devotion set the stage for my work as a journalist, magazine article writer, corporate PR professional…and now author and blogger.

Man…I wish I could hug her again.

So I guess that experience made me a pioneer, part-time homeschooler…with Mrs. Mizrahi as my tutor. The idea has since caught on big-time, so hats off to you parents who homeschool your children.

There is another Mrs. Mizrahi who I admired over 35 years as she became a master teacher. One of the best. Karen never lost her zeal for the classroom. She took her calling seriously until the day she retired. A few years back, the Las Virgenes District honored her as Teacher of the Year.

Toward the end, she lamented how difficult teaching had become, but she never regretted one minute. Mostly, she felt bad for all you teachers who are carrying the banner forward.

May God bless our teachers, and help them not to lose heart. Let’s all remind them: They hold our greatest national resource in the palms of their hands.

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”John Steinbeck