Teacher Appreciation Week is a national holiday celebrated in the United States and offers a time to recognize and acknowledge the inspiring commitment of teachers worldwide.
As I reflect on the teachers I've had throughout my life, I'm overcome with gratitude for their personal attention and concern for my well-being. And as a parent, I'm inspired by the patience and dedication teachers wholeheartedly demonstrate—a lesson of its own.
Although the holiday focuses, more or less, on institutional educators, a teacher can be anyone in your life you look up to for guidance and mentorship. In this light, I have many teachers. If I were to start listing them from the beginning, my parents and grandmother would come first. They nurtured a curiosity to follow my passion and take risks, inspiring optimism and an “anything is possible” point of view. So maybe it’s not surprising I landed on card magic at an early age. When I was 13, I met Ricky Smith, and although he’s just a few years my senior, he continues to be the most important, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher of sleight of hand I’ve ever met. It is said that my brother and I have inspired many people in the world of magic and cardistry, but it is Ricky Smith who inspires me. Forever at the end of the list will be my partner, Colie, who holds me accountable and inspires me to be the person I aspire to be.
As grateful as I am for these people, teachers needn’t be people you know in real life or even people still alive. I consider many authors I read as teachers. Whether it’s a historical figure, like the inspiring philosophical adventurist Alexandra David-Néel, whose books have inspired a profound introspection and opened a level of love for people I never imagined, or a living legend, like Warren Buffett, whose annual letters and interviews have taught me how to practice business (so immense his mentorship has been that I named my daughter after the man), teachers are integral to who we are.
Teachers are everywhere, and they’re closer than you might think. The next time you look in the mirror, consider this: you have something valuable to offer too. As a teacher, you could make a huge difference in someone’s life. You have that power. We all do.
With Teacher Appreciation Week coming up, consider what you might do to show your appreciation for the important role teachers play in our lives. Our team supports educational organizations like Khan Academy, Donors Choose and Wikipedia.