The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a teacher as “one that teaches, specifically in a classroom setting”, but what if I told you that definition was wildly inadequate? You see, teachers do so much more than just teach the required curriculum. They serve as an inspiration to young minds both inside and outside of the classroom. They mold us into the people we will become and help build our confidence. For many of us, they are our role models and for some, they are family.
From a young age, Michael Ham was met with adversity. His physical disabilities along with his strained relationship with his father left him vulnerable in more ways than one. However, it wasn’t long after he started attending Troy City School District that his life changed for the better. Scot Brewer and Gene Steinke are two teachers who walked into Michael's life and never left. They went above and beyond the course syllabus to teach him what it meant to be strong, independent and loved. Scot and Gene not only pushed Michael to his full potential, but they also supported him every step of the way. Today, Michael is a nationally awarded public speaker and published author. His book, Beyond the Challenges: A Book of Life Lessons, tells the story of his journey and motivates others.
"[they] tended not only to my academic needs, but to my physical, social and emotional needs as well, and every day during my tenure as a student in Troy City Schools." -Michael Ham
Scot and Gene served as Michael's biggest cheerleaders, confidants, and mentors. To this day, they still inspire him to make the world a better place. As a way to pay homage to these remarkable teachers, Michael started the #MyTeacherHero project, encouraging others to speak out about educators who have changed their life. His dream is to create a dialogue on social media sharing stories and giving thanks to educators all around the world who have made a difference in others’ lives.
As we approach Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3rd-May 7th), help Michael accomplish his mission by paying tribute to your favorite teacher through videos and messages on social media using the hashtag #MyTeacherHero.
At MediaTech Ventures, education is at the core of everything we do. With so much innovation happening in the world, we are dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and know the value of mentorship. In fact our incubator, Collective, aims to help entrepreneurs and startups grow their professional networks by connecting them with the best teachers, talent and mentors in media & technology. Similar to Michael's experience, our mentors and teachers push entrepreneurs to unleash their full potential, while serving as an inspiration to the creative class workforce and encouraging the development of new media technology companies.
While educators aren't typically thought of as first responders, the pandemic has shown us that they most definitely are essential. So to all the teachers out there, THANK YOU for inspiring, caring, listening, guiding and shaping our future. And to the publishers at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, please update your definition of a teacher!
Who has made a difference in your life? Share your story with us!
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