Teachers shaping future is winning bumper sticker theme

June 21, 1994|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,Sun Staff Writer

Ann Regina never used the red bumper sticker that said, "If you can read this, thank a teacher." It "didn't say anything," she reasoned. Teaching people to read is "our job."

But she says she will proudly paste the bumper sticker designed by a faculty colleague at North County High School -- nine stick figures that spell out "TEACHERS shape the future" -- on her car.

"Teachers have a part in shaping society," the social studies teacher explained. "Society seems to want what's good for children at the present moment, but few adults are looking toward the child's future."

Teachers, she said, "know the importance of what's going on in the classroom and how valuable it will be to our students in real life."

The design by Greg Helms, a science teacher at North County, was the winner of a contest sponsored by the Teachers' Image Campaign of the Teachers' Association of Anne Arundel County as part of an effort to spruce up the image of teachers.

"Teachers have been getting black eyes recently because people don't think about those of us who do good stuff," said Bill Klug, an art teacher at North County.

"Teachers haven't been seen as someone to look up to. With the bumper sticker though, maybe they will look at and think for a second or two about the teachers that have impacted them or the community.

"You're not going to find one teacher who changes the world, but many teachers who are working together to impact the children in a community," he added.

About 100 bumper stickers were judged for their originality, design and message by the communications department of the Maryland State Teachers Association.

About 5,000 of the bumper stickers designed by Mr. Helms will be distributed to Anne Arundel County teachers in September, according to Tom Paolino, teachers' association president.

Margaret Nicholas, a ninth-grade English teacher at North County, was particularly touched by her fellow teacher's design.

"When someone from your school makes something for all teachers, it really makes you feel good . . . especially when the message is so right," she said.

Mr. Helms' bumper sticker design did more than make teachers at North County feel good. It also got them a free lunch at The Corinthian restaurant at Loews Hotel in Annapolis. Mr. Helms won a free dinner for two there.

"I'm not the usual contest-entering person, but I liked the idea of praising teachers for their work, and it was a nice chance for my staff to get a free lunch and for my wife and I to go out to dinner," he said.

"I have always been sensitive to teachers receiving the respect they are due," Mr. Helms said, as he showed off his winning bumper sticker. "People say it's easy having the summers off, but they often forget how much time each teacher spends dealing with children and their problems.

"It's a privilege to be a teacher and watch a child develop over the year," he said. "But it certainly is a lot of responsibility."

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