One of the first books my son and I read this year was Who Was Mister Rogers? We read it over the course of several nights at bedtime. Ryan didn’t know much about Mister Rogers. And, I think Mister Rogers only made his way onto Ryan’s radar because of the recent Tom Hanks movie. (We haven’t seen the movie, just the posters and billboards advertising it.)
Because Ryan is a big Tom Hanks fan, due to movies like Toy Story 1-4, Apollo 13, and the documentary film Magnificent Desolation, Ryan became curious to learn more about Mister Rogers.
I grew up watching Mister Rogers. But I didn’t realize what an impact Mister Rogers had on me until Ryan and I read this introductory biography.
Now, I can acknowledge just how much of my teaching style was influenced by Mister Rogers.
I always told my kids I loved them. (I referred to my students as “my kids”.)
I told my kids they were special.
And each year, I acknowledged every student in my class with a customized achievement certificate. Because let’s be honest, not all kids are going to be strong mathematicians or excellent spellers. But every child has a special skill, quality, talent that deserves to be recognized.
I recognized my kids for their neat penmanship, for reading aloud in a clear voice, for being a responsible line leader.
As Ryan and I read, “Mister Rogers taught kids an important lesson, that everyone is special in their own way.”