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Thank a Teacher Today

A great teacher can change a child’s life. Just ask Oprah.

Don Milne May 7, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, is National Thank a Teacher Day.

Apart from parents, perhaps nobody has a greater impact on young people than teachers. A good teacher can make a lifetime impact on his or her students.

The surprising accomplishments of Helen Keller, who overcame the dual handicaps of being blind and deaf, would never have happened without the teaching efforts of Annie Sullivan.

Fourth grade teacher Mary Duncan is not a household name, but one of her past students is —Oprah Winfrey. Oprah credits Mrs. Duncan with starting her on her path to success.

With degrees from MIT and Harvard and a career working for a hedge fund, Salman Khan did not seem destined to be one of the most influential teachers ever. A decision to tutor his cousins on the internet changed all that when his tablet drawing lessons attracted world-wide attention. Now Khan Academy has nearly 4 million subscribers and his lessons have been watched 1.4 billion times!

Honoring Local Educators:

There are plenty of local teachers we can thank, too. Zions Bank has been shining a spotlight on hundreds of outstanding teachers since 1994 with the KSL Teacher Feature. You can read many of their amazing stories — or, better yet, nominate a teacher you know for some well-deserved recognition. All winners are entered in a drawing for a chance to win a two-year lease on a new car courtesy of Burt Brothers Tire and Service.

KSL Teacher Feature winner JoAnn Bahr of Harvigsen Elementary.

Lending a Hand:

Good teachers recognize that they can’t be experts at everything their students need to learn. Because bankers are experts on savings and credit, Zions Bank makes employees available as teaching resources throughout Utah and Idaho.  For Teach Children to Save Day in April and Get Smart About Credit Day in October each year, hundreds of Zions bankers teach thousands of students interactive lessons that can help them make better choices with money. To find out how to schedule a visit for students in Utah or Idaho, email Zions Bank Financial Literacy Manager Don Milne.

Executive Banking Relationship Manager Jacqueline Hickman turns kids into coins during a Teach Children to Save Day presentation at Hawthorne Elementary School in Boise.

Preparing the Next Generation:

Another group of teachers who deserve a big thanks are the financial literacy teachers in Utah high schools. Since 2008 Utah high school students have been required to attend a semester of financial literacy in order to graduate.

The results must be paying off because Utah was recently recognized by The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College as the only state in the country to earn an A+ for financial literacy. Students who apply what they learn should be able to attend college with below normal student debt and start an early habit to save for retirement.

The historian Henry Brooks Adams said: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Take time today to thank a teacher. It will encourage them to keep up their important efforts to make the future a better place.

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