Legendary composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim recently sat down with CBS Sunday Morning's Mo Rocca to discuss the impact teachers and mentors have had on him.
“Teachers are so underpaid,” Sondheim says in the clip above. “Why else are they teaching? They have to love it.”
He continues, “Everybody takes teachers for granted because everybody goes to school. I think not enough thought is given to how much teachers do and how hard they work. A teacher can make you feel more wanted if your parents are indifferent kinds of parents.”
The composer, who has explored the significance of passed-down lessons in songs such as Sunday in the Park with George's “Children and Art” and Into the Woods' “Children Will Listen,” launched the Inspirational Teacher Awards in 2011 alongside the Kennedy Center. The 11 awardees for 2017 were honored on March 22—Sondheim's birthday—with a $10,000 prize.
In the interview, Sondheim also reflected on his own mentors and teachers, including Oscar Hammerstein III, as well as his ninth grade Latin teacher, whom he credits as the individual who sparked his proficiency in language.