I am cutting this series off at 5 because I could go on and on. There are literally dozens of amazing educators and leaders that have creates an impact for me. There are two educators that I appreciate more than any others. My parents, Tom and Terry Costello!
My mom was a basic skills teacher until I was born. When she went back to work she was placed in 5th grade. I used to help her set up in h classroom every summer. Besides being my mom and teaching me any number of things, she taught me several HUGE teacher lessons. First, she was part of the foundation of curiosity and my love of learning. Next, she helped me to learn to laugh at mistakes. Every year I would help her put up a bulletin board, she was big on social studies so it was an earth with the saying “World Class Class”. She took each child’s picture in front of that board in the pre-digital camera age. When the pictures came out we realized that her kids were in front of the second “Cl” (think about that for a second). We had a good laugh. She also taught me what the dedication of a teacher. How often would we buy coats, clothes, and shoes only for them to disappear? How often do people 20+ years later that people still don’t remember loving her and her class?
My dad was and continues to be (on a part-time contractor basis) a Child Psychologist. Not only was he the other half of that incredible foundation for learning that was set for me, but he taught me so many other things about being an educator. His first message was dress for your clientele. He was notorious for awful ties but he worked with middle schoolers (I now have some of those awful ties!) My dad showed me just how important educators are to kids. I will never forget being very young and having a young teen bang on our door. That teen was running, I do not know from what, but with my dad was the only place that was “safe”. When the police came, they knew my dad too (from school too) and after talking to everyone it all seemed to work out in the end. It is not a rare occurrence that I have people come up to me and ask me how my dad is doing. Most of them tell me how much they owe him, how they would never have made it through high school if not for him, many say he is the reason they are not in jail, or even the reason they are alive! His community is filled with people who owe so much to him because he put kids first, listened and helped with love and laughter, and genuinely cared for each of the kids who came his way. I think I developed my love of working with “lost causes” and the most difficult students from him.
I am doubling up my blog on this one, not because I don’t think I could find more educators to write about, but I do not think there could be a more fitting end to this series than to thank the two people who literally made me who I am today! Thank you Mom and Dad, I Love You both!