Jim Cowan

I had many great teachers at Chickasha High School, but I am reminded of one in particular almost constantly. Darrell Harms taught Speech and Drama for many years and had a huge impact on me back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Mr. Harms was so good at helping students understand the importance of being confident and speaking with passion. I can still hear him say “Keep it Simple” and “be yourself”, or “slow down and make eye contact”. There were a lot of great teachers back in High School, but I use what Mr. Harms taught me almost every day of my life. Maybe it was because his teaching style wasn’t just textbooks like other classes, but instead more of hands on style that made you get up in front of a group and connect with your audience.

 That is what great teachers do, they make a lasting impression on students. Great teachers help you form habits that stick with you a lifetime. As  young people go from being students in the classroom to adults in the workforce, they benefit from those skills they learned. Teachers can make an impression on thousands of students over their career, but usually have no idea the impact they have decades after high school.

School will be starting back soon and there has never been a year of more uncertainty. I can’t imagine how teachers or students can possibly be preparing this school year. It’s so hard to plan when the world keeps changing day to day, but sometimes teachers do their best when facing adversity. I would like to think that some positive things will come from all the negatives associated with this pandemic. Maybe we can all do a better job of being appreciative of the many things we have always taken for granted. Maybe we practice acts of gratitude for school teachers, coaches, administrators and all the other support staff that help our students.

 Maybe it should start with me… Thank you Mr. Harms for helping this shy teenager have the confidence to speak with passion. Thank you for knowing when I needed discipline and when I needed encouragement. As this school year gets started, maybe a few others out there will thank their teachers of today or from the past. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Look them in the eye, be yourself, keep it simple, speak with passion. That’s what Mr. Harms taught me, and that is #TheGoodStuff.

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