Earlier this week I had the experience of having a youngster greet me with "Hi, teacher!"
I was dumbfounded, of course, because I was in the parking lot of the Daily Sun News. I am not a teacher. I am a reporter.
Then I began to think about the situation. I know many students in our local schools address any adult within the school building as "teacher."
Maybe this particular youngster remembers seeing me in her school building. If that is the case, I am tickled she would remember me.
Upon further thought, I questioned why it mattered so much. The child obviously was happy to see me and brought a smile to my face when she greeted me.
Also, I began to ponder...aren't we all teachers regardless of our occupation?
There have been many opportunities for me to teach both young and old alike.
We teach each other through conversation. In conversing with another person, we often share our lives with that person. We are teaching them about ourselves, even in small ways.
In turn, they are learning to socialize with someone who is different from themselves. They are learning about your experiences.
The learning opportunities continue in day-to-day interaction with others.
When I am visiting a school and taking photographs or writing a story, the teachers and students learn from me. I also learn from them.
They share with me a little part of their lives and I return the favor, sharing my thoughts through the questions I ask.
There have been times I have been asked to address the students with my personal thoughts about a project or accomplishment. In that way, I am teaching them they are doing something valuable. And, they are teaching me there are many gifted youngsters and educators in our community.
So, I guess you would say I am a teacher...just not in the traditional sense of the word. But, then again, so are you.