I was blessed to have many fabulous teachers throughout my educational journey. The one that always stands out the most to me is Mr. Rusk. Ever since I was little, I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. He didn’t help me make a decision about my profession, but he helped me decide what kind of teacher I wanted to become.
A great teacher does more than just teach. My high school band director was more than a teacher to me. Mr. William McEwan taught me to respect authority figures.
Growing up, my home life was not the easiest to deal with. Mr. McEwan showed me that there ARE adults in the world who are good and trustworthy. Trust did not come easy for me. He taught me through example. He never expected less of me than he expected of himself and everyone around him. He taught me to have self respect. He never allowed me to feel sorry for myself. He was always available when I needed reassurance or advice. He also taught me that ultimately, I am responsible for myself, regardless of my circumstances.
My inspiration came from a high school teacher named Mr. Krauthamer. I was in his class for 10th-grade world history. I really enjoyed his sense of humor and he often had to tell me to let others participate. (I loved his praise when I participated; I didn’t do it often in other classes.)
In the spring of my 11th-grade year, Kraut (as we all called him) came to me and said, ”I want you to take my AP macroeconomics class next fall. We’ll have a lot of fun.” I was a little taken aback and told him so. He reassured me that I didn’t have to take the AP exam and that the material really wasn’t that hard.
I had Ms. Lee for English I through IV. She didn’t believe in accepting less than your best and never gave out 100s on writing assignments.
I was friends with her youngest son and he told me that one night she spend four-and-a-half hours grading a one page paper I had summited to find a mistake so I could get my usual 99.
I was a Stokes County kid. I knew how to harvest tobacco and I knew how to drive a tractor. I had never heard an orchestra, only strings in a blue grass band.
When I went to high school, I took chorus for an elective subject. The teacher was cool, with hair down to his shoulders and a fast, peppy walk. Our chorus was large, with almost 90 members. He exposed us to music from different eras in history. We would sing a capella madrigals and songs in different languages. What was wrong with this guy? Did he not realize that he had a bunch of farmers in his class?
The crazy thing is, yes, he knew we were rural, and he knew that our musical experience was severely limited, but he opened up a world of history and beauty through that chorus class. He would take us to competitions and we would return with superior ratings. Amazing things were accomplished musically in our chorus.
Mrs. Williams was my middle school Latin teacher. Now, you would think that Latin was a hard and boring subject but in her capable hands it was not only learnable, but fun.
When eight of us wanted to continue Latin after our 8th grade year, we were told it wasn’t being offered and that we would have to take Spanish or French. Well, Mrs. Williams heard that we wanted to take her class and gave up one of her planning periods to keep teaching us. We, in turn, doubled up on language classes and took Latin in addition to Spanish.
Mr. Bob Weiss was perhaps the most influential person in my life. He taught science in a way that made it both amazing and fun for every student. He was also the funniest guy I had ever met up to that point in life.
Because of his warmth, and dedication to his students and profession, I decided then that I would become a biology teacher when I grew up.
Later, when I entered the profession, I had the great fortune to work with my idol for five years until he retired.
When I took Geometry with Mr. Savage, I really struggled. The memorization of axioms, postulates, and theorums left me dizzy. I went to him after school and shared my problem with him. He was very compassionate and understanding.
His attitude emboldened me to make a request: ”If I can get the correct answer by proving it logically and not memorizing, would you mark it right?” He said he would, and I got through geometry with his help.
Mrs. Ingle was one of those teachers who inspired students to chase their dreams and make them realities. Each day, she shared personal insights that made us truly understand the life lessons she was trying to teach. Each student left her room wanting to be more loving, kind, and accepting of the people in our lives. Because of Mrs. Ingle, I am now a sixth-grade teacher trying to make a difference in every child who steps in my classroom. I will always be truly thankful to have had a role model like Mrs. Ingle to show me how to really make an impact on the students and families at my school and beyond.
I can remember the days like yesterday. I was not the best student in the world and I had a major attitude, as well as a very smart mouth. I would need at least two to three warnings before I would do the right thing. This particular teacher saw something in me that I did not see in myself.
Ms. Reid was the music teacher, and she played the piano when I had a flute solo. She was very nice and friendly, but that meant nothing to me. She would always say, ”Good morning,” to me every day, but that still did not make a difference to me. I still had to be me. She continued showing me unconditional kindness and love, no matter what my attitude was for that day.
- Give a Little Love, Get $25 for Classrooms!
- Francis Nine, Ponca City Senior High School
- Jay Criche, Lake Forest High School
- Sally Cullen, Marshall Junior High
- Nadine Cole, Academy of Ballet Arts
- Mrs. Starr, Streams Elementary School Monday Dec. 19th
- Mr. Dauplaise, Washington Junior High Monday Dec. 19th
- Mr. Anderson, Vol State Community College Monday Dec. 19th
- Joseph Castka, Martin Van Buren High School Sunday Dec. 18th
- Mr. Randy Rusk, Snider High School Sunday Dec. 18th
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