I recently attended a retirement celebration in honor of one of my favorite teachers from middle school. What this man taught me in a Czech language class affected my path in life in ways I never imagined. Along this journey, I have come to understand who I am and what God created me to do.
My first Czech class influenced my decision to pursue further training in the language of my ancestors. I chose to attend The University of Texas at Austin (UT) partly because of its strong Czech program. While at UT, I had the opportunity to realize my dream of traveling to the Czech Republic. I studied abroad in Prague twice and eventually earned a second bachelor’s degree in Czech studies.
In addition to expanding my horizons, my Czech studies helped shape me as a leader. My ability to speak the language well gave me confidence to speak up. I became passionate about promoting awareness and education of the Czech language and culture. I stepped up to lead the Czech Club at UT, which hosted events on and off campus, including a photography exhibit at a local coffee shop.
My Czech studies also impacted the course of my career and my volunteer service. After graduating from college, I worked as a marketing communications specialist at a Czech company in California. I have connected with many students from the Czech Republic, taught a beginner’s Czech class, and volunteered with the Czech Center Museum Houston. In 2011, I served as a pastoral intern at the Taylor Brethren Church and spoke at several other Brethren churches, all of which have roots in the former Czechoslovakia.
These experiences helped me recognize and appreciate that I am a gifted communicator. God called me to inspire and teach others through my words. Today, I write and speak to many diverse audiences.
All of us have teachers for whom we are truly grateful. They may be professional teachers in schools and colleges as well as our parents, our grandparents, pastors, mentors, and the greatest teacher of all—Jesus Christ. Following are ways we can honor these individuals for the treasures they have imparted to us and the treasures they are:
- Say thank you. Words of appreciation mean a lot.
- Give a special gift. A photograph or custom artwork can convey our gratitude in a unique way.
- Host a celebration. Parties can draw many together to commemorate special achievements.
- Give credit to the individuals who have taught us.
- Stay in touch. Teachers love to hear about their students’ progress.
- Pray for teachers who face distinctive challenges as they fulfill their calling.
- Live a life that honors teachers—put what we have learned into practice.