Where has the summer gone? Classes have already begun in the Killeen Independent School District.

Bless the teachers, students, administrators, support staff, parents and the school board.

I get the picture because my wife is a retired preschool teacher from KISD.

My daughter has a job as a first-time elementary music teacher in the Northwest ISD, a district that covers parts of Tarrant, Denton and Wise counties in North Texas.

My son is an Apple computer technician for the Belton ISD.

My daughter-in-law is a kindergarten teacher in KISD.

I worked for 25 years as a school public information officer in the Lubbock ISD and KISD.

I’ve been working for the Killeen Daily Herald since I retired about five years ago.

Add these additional educators in our extended family of four who are retired teachers. There are two elementary teachers and four high school teachers still working.

Just from this group of classroom teachers and support personnel, imagine how many children’s lives have been and will continue to be influenced in constructive ways.

Teachers are under deep scrutiny these days and it’s not as joyful to be an educator as it used to be. Times have changed and they’ve had to alter their teaching to meet unreachable standards. The bigger problem is that they are not always appreciated.

I say, “Thank God for teachers.”

My own personal experiences as a student has not always been perfect, but there were so many others who loved me, cared for me and did their best to help me wander through the maze of information I needed to know.

I was not a good student and made average grades at best. It was those teachers who looked beyond my weaknesses and helped me find that glimmer of possibility that I was talented and could succeed in my world. I will always remember and love those teachers.

Many of my college professors followed up on that notion, as well, and launched me on a trajectory toward a bachelor’s degree and into a career that I learned to love. My wife was a major part of that effort that did take me 15 years to complete but hey, I got it done.

My days in the earlier grades were just like many of yours. I was always glad to be with my friends. The academic side was not my cup of tea.

I used to get in trouble for laughing in class. Those of you who know me personally are not surprised about that bit of news.

There were good days and not so good days. I always dreaded getting tests back. I really never figured out the reason for the teacher having us call our test grades out loud so she could enter them in her grade book. That was always an extremely embarrassing task for me. Most of the time, the number on the page brought little pride.

I did a few crazy things in school. One of my more stressful years was in sixth grade when I told my teacher I was not going to sing in the class play. She was upset with me for years.

I had everyone spoiled because the first big debut as a third-grader was with my ukulele and the performance of “Tom Dooley.”

Have you ever listened to the words of that song? Its lyrics speak of dragging a girl to the top of a mountain and stabbing her with a knife. I promise I didn’t select it but I gave it my best shot.

It must have been effective because the girls were always asking me to serenade them with that song on the playground during recess. I would never tell pretty girls no if they asked me to perform, even if the song was of such a violent nature.

Well, there is my educational experience growing up in a small, North Texas town.

It’s a good thing to be mindful of all our teachers, especially those in Southeast Texas who will start their school year late because of flooding and those who don’t have a school to return to because of Hurricane Harvey.

Educators, we are thinking of you and appreciate how you change our world!

Bob Massey is a Herald correspondent.

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