On National Teacher Day, Sr. Margaret Hickey reflects on her 30 years of shaping the minds of Students

As a retired teacher with almost 30 years of experience, Sr. Margaret Hickey has had the privilege of shaping the minds and hearts of countless students. She was inspired to become a teacher by her own experiences in K-12 and in college, where she had teachers who were passionate, encouraging, and helped her discover her gifts. She carried that inspiration with her throughout her career, always striving to be a positive influence on her students.

Sr. Margaret noted that, “Teaching is not without its challenges, but I approached them with a flexible attitude and a willingness to learn from my students and colleagues. One of my principals taught me to always have a plan b and c in my pocket, and I often surveyed my classes to see what they needed and provided a variety of ways of learning.”  With older students, she tried to teach according to what they might need in the future, based on their career aspirations.

Sr. Margaret said, “One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is seeing the impact you have on your students’ lives. Many times, former students have come back to tell me that I “saved their lives.” While she couldn’t always remember exactly what she did or said, she knew that she had been an affirming presence for them and had interceded on their behalf when they were in trouble.

Sr. Margaret’s advice for aspiring teachers or those just starting out their careers, is to remember the privilege of teaching and the opportunity to help students come to know themselves better and to accept their potential. She said, “This far outweighs the tough times, and when students see how you affected their lives, they will come back and affirm you.”

On this special day, Sr. Margaret wants to remind her students and fellow educators of the importance of education and the role of teachers in shaping young minds. She went on to say, “Teaching is a privilege, and it’s important to find your strengths and build on them, while also being willing to learn and grow while you are helping others learn and grow.” Above all, Sr. Margaret believes that we should place ourselves into the hands of the Master Teacher Jesus and learn from Him, always striving to do the most good and bring out the best in each person we encounter.