Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Thoughts on the first day of school

Steve Smylie

For the 37th year, I greeted students for the first day of classes yesterday.

As typical, it was hard to get to sleep, so many things rushing through one’s mind, in that time, my lessons have gone from hand cranked ditto machines and chalk boards to smart boards, flash drives, and “the cloud.”

But teaching is still that magic point when curriculum and experience meet someone eager to learn.

Our dear friends, the education reformers, may perhaps forget, or maybe never learned, that teaching and learning is eternal. It’s only the tools that change. A good teacher is a good teacher, whether or not he or she uses a “mobile computing device” or simply tells a good story. The wisdom comes from the years of love.

Love for kids, love for this most wonderful profession, love for the quest for knowledge, love for this country, yes, it’s always a challenge, and still the greatest profession on earth. You pay me the greatest compliment of all when you simply call me “teacher.”

To all the children starting afresh this week, to all who love and nurture them, and to my colleagues, this is the best time of year.


Steve Smylie

Steve Smylie served four terms in the Idaho Legislature. He is a lifelong educator; teaching, coaching, and administrating at the public school, private school, and university level, 37 years in all. In 2006 he ran for Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction, losing in the Republican Primary election. He holds advanced degrees from Northwest Nazarene University, Boise State University, and the University of Idaho. He is the son of former Republican governor of Idaho Robert E. Smylie. Currently he is an adjunct Professor of Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies at Boise State University.

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