Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Teaching – Every Child Deserves a Champion by Pete Springer

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

Retired teacher and author Pete Springer shares a thought provoking post on the what he considers the role of a teacher should be in a studen’ts life. He also takes us behind the scenes to look at the things an educator might do to ensure their students get the best start in their new classroom, and the non educational aspects of becoming a champion for all students.

Every Child Deserves a Champion by Pete Springer

Photo Credit to Pinterest

As I drive by my old school, a place I poured my heart and soul into for 31 years, I see all the signs that a new school year is about to begin. The parking lot is full. It doesn’t matter whether this is a paid day; it would be the same either way. Why? Because schools have dedicated people who are trying their best to help children. It’s that time of the year when a teacher has difficulty turning off their brain, thinking about everything they need to do to prepare for when that first child walks into their classroom.

Photo Credit to Pine Hill School Facebook Page

There are the things that everybody sees: a welcoming classroom, a pleasant-looking working environment (often enhanced through an educator’s purchases), new school supplies (many of which were purchased by the teacher with their money), and new technological resources (things the instructor may possess yet have little training for). The school district may have paid for the training, but assuredly, the educator has invested their time into trying to learn how to utilize the technology most effectively.

Most of the public is unaware of what teachers are doing behind the scenes in preparation for the new year beyond getting lessons ready and learning a new curriculum. Some students will show up prepared with adequate food, new school clothes, backpacks, and school supplies, but some will arrive without any of these. Could I allow them to start the school year two steps behind their classmates? My conscience didn’t permit me to do that because the moment those children walked into the classroom for the first time, they became my kids. I don’t mean just for that day, week, or school year. They were my kids for the rest of their lives.

My response is hardly unique. Many other teachers do the same thing each day. I can assure you many educators are thinking about addressing these exact needs. If a student shows up hungry, how in good conscience can we not feed them so they can concentrate? If a child comes to school without a jacket because their family lacks funds to buy one, can we look the other way? We can’t because the humane thing is ensuring our students receive basic needs. It doesn’t mean a teacher goes out and buys a new wardrobe for a child, but they often go through their old clothing and sensitively and discreetly pass on a garment to the student. If a teacher suspects a child needs shampoo, soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, etc., the educator tries to find a way to help.

Photo Credit to Pixabay

Above all, I wanted my students to know that they had a loving adult that would look out for them and provide a safe and healthy environment where they could learn. When students had chaotic living situations, it was my duty to provide stability for the part of the day they would be with me. My students needed to understand that I would always be there for them and help them to help themselves.

Children want to feel safe, loved, and that they belong. They will give their best in return when an educator creates that environment. The teachers I remember the most are those who had faith in me. I did not want to let them down.

We get invested in our students’ lives because we want the best for them. Most educators view their pupils as the potential leaders of tomorrow. It’s an investment in our futures. I have faith in today’s youth and great optimism for the years to come.

I may be retired from teaching, but I’m still paying attention to my former students. Many have done great things, and others will make their mark in the world. Do I still care? Does a duck like water? Next month, my wife and I will attend the wedding of one of my former third graders. I’m so proud of her and the woman she has become. Receiving an invitation to her special day is a gift I’ll never forget.

I read a recent statistic that stated that 48% of teachers are considering a change of professions. Instead of making the job more attractive to future or current teachers, we’re doing the opposite. I find that heartbreaking because I know that the single most crucial factor in a child’s educational success is their teacher. The answer to a nationwide teacher shortage isn’t to lower the standards. We should offer higher salaries and more support to make a difficult job easier and more attractive.

As the new school year begins for preschoolers, elementary, middle school, high school, and college students, administrators often try to inspire their teachers. One of those methods is by listening to the words of other skilled educators. One of my favorite TED Talks is from forty-year educator Rita Pearson in 2013. Sadly, Ms. Pearson passed later that same year, yet her wisdom and words remain to inspire a new generation. One doesn’t have to be an educator to know that we need more teachers like Rita Pearson. Every kid does indeed deserve a champion.

Rita Pierson’s TED Talk from 2013

©Pete Springer 2022

My thanks to Pete for participating in the series and I know he would love to hear from you.

About Pete Springer

My name is Pete Springer. I taught elementary school for thirty-one years (grades 2-6) at Pine Hill School in Eureka, CA. Even though I retired over three years ago, my passion will always lie with supporting education, kids, and teachers.

When I came out of the teaching program many years ago, I realized how unprepared I was for what was in store for me in the classroom. My college education focused mostly on learning theory rather than the practical day-to-day challenges that all teachers face. Thankfully, I had some great mentors to lean on to help support me in the early part of my career.

I have made it my mission to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers. I was a master teacher to four student teachers, and I have several former students who are now teachers, including one who teaches at my former elementary school. That is pretty cool!

While I was teaching, I decided that one day I would write books for children. That ship is now in the harbor. I took some writing workshops, found a writing critique group, joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and I recently finished writing my first middle-grade novel. I’ve always connected with kids, and this is my new way of teaching.

My debut MG novel, Second Chance Summer, just got professionally edited, and I will be querying in the coming weeks.

One of the reviews for the book that I can also recommend

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars Great for parents, new teachers, and those who want to be inspired.  Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 9, 2023

“They Call Me Mom” is an insightful look into being an elementary teacher. It starts with not only how Mr. Springer became a teacher after a few years of working minimum wage jobs to the wisdom gained through over thirty years of teaching. This is a great book if you want to understand what it takes to be a skilled teacher and the work behind it. As a student, I had a few outstanding teachers motivate me. As a parent some teachers encouraged not only their class but the parents too. It’s not only from hard work but a level of caring that shines through as it does in this memoir. I enjoyed reading not only his philosophies but how they were applied. The student stories were touching and sometimes amusing. Reading this was good timing for me as my son just signed up to get his high school teaching credentials—so I will pass this along to him. I can easily recommend this to all new teachers, parents, and those who want to be inspired by someone who loved their job and gave it their all. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Read more reviews:Goodreads – Website: Pete Springer WordPressTwitter: @OfficerWoof


How to feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (
  • Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the second six months of 2022. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor
  • If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.


89 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Teaching – Every Child Deserves a Champion by Pete Springer

  1. As a teacher, I connect with everything you’ve written. I still keep in touch with some of the kids from my first class 26 years ago (and every class thereafter). I’ve watched my kids graduate, find careers, get married, and have children, some of whom have ended up at my school (and come visit me to get to know the teacher their mom/dad had).

    People on the outside looking in cannot truly understand how much teachers invest in their students. I always have food in my desk for them, though our school luckily has free breakfast and lunch for the students. I have blankets in my room they can borrow if they don’t have a jacket (our classrooms are always freezing). I have pens/pencils and paper for anyone who “forgot” their materials.

    I also agree that teachers are leaving the profession faster than they can be replaced. Teachers and education are being attacked by people who want to have the spotlight, people who don’t truly know (or care) about what really happens in a classroom. And teachers are tired of it. Most teachers don’t get paid enough to afford decent housing, so they look for a job that pays more with significantly less stress.

    Thanks for shining a light on teachers, Pete! Thanks for sharing this post, Sally! Maybe one day teachers will be held in higher esteem, but I’m not holding my breath. Until then, I will keep doing what I do – loving my kids, showing them their worth, and empowering them to have bright futures.

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • I can feel your passion, Yvette, much like I saw in many people I worked with. People who put their life on the line every day, such as firefighters and police officers, rightly earn a lot of praise from the public, but let’s not forget all the miracles teachers perform each day. Somehow they take children whose lives are filled with dysfunction and give them stability and the belief that they can change their outcomes and flip the script of their lives.

      The part that still makes me a little crazy as a retired educator is the unrealistic expectations of teachers. We can’t expect educators to take 30 personalities, some with severe anger problems, and magically teach them with little to no support. It would be like expecting a surgeon to perform surgery without anyone else being there to help.

      Thank you so much for what you do daily, Yvette, as an educator and for caring about your students. It’s ALWAYS about the relationships one fosters with their students.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s pretty clear, Pete, that you made a difference with your students, and it’s a lesson a lot of teachers can learn. That’s what education is all about. Thanks for sharing your insights with us. All the best.

    Reblogged on Improvisation – “The Art of Living”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What a wonderful share! I loved Pete’s book and his personal commitment to education. Thank you, Sally, and congratulations, Pete. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Much as Rita says in her talk, every one of us can think of educators who have made a difference in our lives. Two weeks ago, I drove my good friend and mentor, Nancy, to the airport as she moved closer to her daughter in an assisted living situation. She was a mentor teacher and later my principal. Then, as if she hadn’t done enough in my life, I joined her writing critique group a few years back. What a wonderful human being!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Pete’s writing, and this is a wonderful selection Sally. Having many family members and friends who are teachers, I know how very much they all go above and beyond the school calendar schedule, usually enlisting other members of the family to help set up rooms, or assist in all those special events. I don’t know any teacher who “takes the summers off!”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for recognizing that teachers don’t truly take summers/weekends off as others would have us believe, Dorothy. It took many years for me to learn to shut off my mind at the end of the day, as the natural inclination is to try and address each student’s needs (even in the middle of the night.)

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this post.
    I think that teaching is ‘A work of the Heart’, sadly it seems that the trend now is on grades, paperwork and toeing the line!
    All teachers are put into the same little boxes and made to be just the same.
    I’m currently reading Pete’s book and although America not England the message is the same.
    I’ve always loved the children in my care and like Pete they are certaainly mine forever.
    Yes, there are a few challenging children, but that makes it more exciting.
    I still think teaching is a great profession but it does need to be given back to the teachers not the tick boxes.

    I’ve been semi-retired for 12 years and have visited so many local schools as a cover /supply teacher. (Day by day a different school and a different year grou)
    I’ve come to realise that there is no perfect. (Sometimes it’s the school environment, sometimes the children, sometimes the staff team – its always the same)
    what changes is what they bring to the classroom, the different mix of cultures, uniform or home background. They are the same yet different and I love that.

    I still enjoy the odd days in school despite retirement but do feel sad when visiting a school and seeing the teachers wilting under the pressures put on them, leaving or wanting to leave this great profession that has their heart.

    I will get off my soap box now.
    Thank you Sally for sharing Pete’s post.
    Thank you Pete, I’m glad its not just me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Work from the heart” is an apt description, Sue. I most definitely got mixed messages from some of my administrators. It’s not enough to say we’re interested in educating the whole child; we have to show that in how we teach our children. Saying that publicly but privately preaching ad nauseum about raising test scores to prove to the public that we’re doing our jobs is part of the phoniness. I’m nodding to the semi-retired comment because that’s how most of us are, even after we stop getting paid.

      By the way, I recently read and left a review for Barty Barton. Great job, Sue! Much like Barty, we can never love too much.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Aww.
        Glad you enjoyed Barty’s story.
        I will check out the review.
        I’m enjoying your book too and was certainly nodding along to several bits including the photocopier queue.

        Yes, I might be retired but love getting called in to help out in a school.
        The children seem to like that I’m a little older and of course the fact that I play with my Lego.
        A day in school for me, dare I say, is like a day off, as I have to put down social media and interact with children.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Pete, like Rita Pearson, is an inspirational teacher. It comes through in this post and in his book. Most teachers do their best for the whole child – not just the academic tick boxes – and that is as it should be. In many cases, teachers make the biggest differences to the lives of those who struggle academically. It’s just as valuable to give a child a sense of self-worth and responsibility as it is to get them to college.xx

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. This is an excellent post from Pete’s archives, Sally. It gives a true insider glimpse into a job that so many who don’t do it, take for granted. I am grateful for teachers everywhere!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I worked with some of the best. It made me proud to be an educator. It’s a little bit like the feeling of support we get from each other in the writing community.

      I appreciate your comments, Jan. Teaching is like parenting. Don’t take it for granted.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m glad you chose this post, Sally, because anything I can do to promote all the great work teachers do each day while flying under the radar makes me feel good. What educators need besides resources is the support of the community. I can’t tell you how often I’d have parents volunteer for an hour or two, and they’d walk out of their shaking their heads, asking, “How do you do this every day?” We do it because we love it, but it’s a job that can take its toll if you don’t have outside support.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember this post, both Pete’s dedication and big heart, and Rita Pierson’s inspiring snippet. I hope every child has a champion, and if not a parent, then a teacher, coach, relative, neighbor, or friend. As Pete demonstrates, the impact can be huge and leave a lasting memory. A wonderful post, Pete, and great share, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

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  12. Where I grew up in the 1960s, many houses were due for slum clearance. A friend of mine had no bathroom and with 2 brothers about was unable to wash herself in private. Our school had a flat upstairs where girls could learn domestic skills (how sexist that is now!). When some of the boys complained about her body odour, she was mortified but was eventually allowed to use the bath in the school’s flat on a regular basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pete is one of my all-time favorite bloggers, and this post is fabulous. What a great teacher he was (and still is outside of the classroom). I hope every listens to Rita on the TED talk video. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

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