9 thoughts on “A question

  1. Mr. Gryder, my fifth grade math and science teacher, was amazing! (So amazing that he came to mind immediately even though fifth grade was 30+ years ago.) He was fun and funny and really cared about what we were doing and learning. He had higher expectations for us than other elementary teachers had, and he gave us the room to meet those expectations…we were allowed to work independently on projects that we had chosen for ourselves. (Of course, he was there for help if we needed it!) I remember that he had math “contracts” (they were packets of materials to practice a particular skill) that we were expected to complete…at our own pace. If you understood a concept, you were welcome to move on, and if you were having trouble with something, you could get the help and time you needed. I always loved that I could move on and didn’t have to wait for the rest of the class to “get” something. (I’ve been a math nerd since elementary school, apparently.) 🙂 We did just oodles of hands on projects and experiments and things. Oh, one more thing! Kids who liked working in groups were welcome to, but us introvert types weren’t required to. It’s a wonderful feeling to be comfortable in a classroom. (I don’t think a lot of teachers realize just how uncomfortable and counterproductive group work is for some people…it was always a lesson-wrecker for me, but Mr. Gryder totally got that.) Okay, I’ll stop, but I could go on about this fella for a long time. 😀

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  2. There were 2 teachers at school I just loved. One was Mrs Mac, the art teacher. I don’t know what made her such a great teacher: I just adored those art classes. The other was my music teacher. Again, probs nor such a great teacher but we shared a love of music. A profound connection.

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  3. Hard to choose one, but my A-Level Biology teacher was amazing, she was very passionate about her subect, did lots of practical stuff with things she got from the butchers (lungs and eyeballs). She tackled a lot of Sex Education issues in a matter of fact way and inspired a dozen girls to study Science at University, including me.

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  4. Mrs. Boyd. Preschool. She was loving and supportive and put up with all my strange requests (such as when I came back to the playschool after having chicken-pox and insisted that I do ALL the makeup work before I could go out to play…. we didn’t have homework or anything so she quickly came up with some learning-projects for me to do so I could feel like I’d done my missed work).
    Mr. Neff, 5th grade. He read to us. Every single day around recess time he would sit down, turn down the lights in the room, and read to us. Julie of the Wolves, Island of the Blue Dolphin, The BFG, Danny Champion of the World, Matilda… we kept a list of them along the front of the classroom. We did writing projects regularly, and he tried to tailor them to the class interests and what was going on in the world. I remember that his dad got sick (and maybe even passed away) the year I was in his class, so we had substitutes for a while, but Mr. Neff came back and was as amazing as ever.
    And then there was a whole slew of my high school teachers who were spectacular. They encouraged us in our own interests, to speak up when we thought something wasn’t right, to educate ourselves when they could not.

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  5. Kara Jorgensen

    I have had a few really fantastic teachers over the years, but two really stand out.
    One was my 8th grade chemistry teacher. Picture House but older. He was a sarcastic, no nonsense curmudgeon who could honestly be rude. I was terrified of him for the first half of the year, especially when he began class by saying he disliked us all equally until proven otherwise. By the end of the year I loved him because he was a jerk who pushed me to do better. If I got a B- on a quiz, he’d tell me I could do better and to do so next time. He made me want to prove to him that I could do better and could get into advanced biology in 9th grade (he made that decision). He made us accountable for our grades and pushed us, which I think was really when I realized I could be good at science and to take it seriously. He also was a fantastic teacher in terms of presenting the material clearly.
    My other favorite teacher was my professor/mentor in college. She was my writing teacher, and I ended up showing her a piece of my fiction writing, which was the first time anyone saw my work. She told me how to make it better, and we clicked. Eventually she convinced me to double major in English and biology, and throughout my years of schooling, she was my cheering section as well as the standard I wanted to hold myself to. I wrote every English essay as if I was trying to impress her. She made me want to do my best, and it worked. I don’t think I could be where I am if she didn’t push me to do more. She also convinced me to speak at two literature conferences and go to graduate school.

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  6. I really couldn’t pick just one. I was very fortunate to have wonderful and inspiring teachers throughout high school and one college professor that comes to mind. I think I would have to tell you about my high school guidance counselor, Bill Flanagan. He believed in me. He cared. He was enthusiastic. He was there when there were any problems if any kind even if they weren’t school problems. I am still in touch with him now, 45 years after graduation. He is still an inspiration.

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  7. My high school math teacher, year 10 (I remember her face, forget her name). She taught it so well (i.e. broke it down and presented math in such a way that my small brain understood) that I went from average to top 5% in my year. All things math became exciting (not only because of my marks). The world of programming (this was back in the early nineties) and other math related careers became appealing and possible. That was the best feeling especially coming from a low socio economic, single parent upbringing. Alas, wonderful math teacher went off to have babies and her replacements…well, lets just say I ended up a therapist. To this day I wonder what could’ve been if I had more time under her tutelage.

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  8. Mr. Yiengst, sixth grade. He taught pre-algebra, but he was also my homeroom teacher, so I had him for the language arts stuff too. Before his class, I just drifted through school, always getting A’s but never feeling challenged. Mr. Y though, he wanted to see the best in us, and pushed us to work hard. He had unconventional means of doing so too, that made us want to learn.
    I specifically remember one time that he was trying to get us to accomplish something (I don’t even remember what THAT was). Our “team” of teachers/classrooms was known as the All Stars, and it was the year the Smash Mouth song came out. All of us kids had unofficially adopted it has our team song, so he promise to wear this crazy get up and sing the song for us if we accomplished said thing. It happened, and I will NEVER FORGET this crazy teacher standing in front of three classrooms of students singing the song karaoke-style.
    I think it’s the teachers who push you and aren’t afraid to be unconventional and memorable that become the favorite teachers.

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