Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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It's Teacher Appreciation Week. I'm sure y'all knew that already and have sent your favorite teachers, past and present, bon-bons and spa gift cards. The picture above is from eons ago when I taught drama. I made my kids do a musical. Not just a musical, but a western musical. They were slightly miserable, but I had fun. When I first started teaching, my oldest student (a tri-peat 10th grader) was five years younger than I was. Now the age gap is…slightly greater.

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I will never forget during my second year of teaching, we were in an old, old building. It was the same high school I had attended, as well as my mother and grandmother. They had made few renovations or repairs since. Not all of the walls were attached to one another, and you could always see outside if you stood in the right corner. Birds often got trapped in the ceiling, providing company for the mice and a little white noise for my kids. Parts of the building had a definite lean, and the roof forever leaked. One day the weather took a bad turn, and the news said a tornado was coming. So we gathered all the students into the halls.  (Where we could keep one eye on them and one eye on the the sky through the cracks.) I taught ninth grade English then, and one of my girls, sitting on the dirty carpet of the floor, her back to the wall, started having herself a little fit. She began to tear up. “I'm not ready to die! I'm not ready to die!” I stood in front of her and smiled with the patience of Mother Teresa. “Kara, it's going to be fine.” I laughed like she was silly for being so concerned. “This is nothing. It will be over soon. No big deal at all. You are NOT going to die.” Oh, my gosh. We are dead here!! We'd be safer outside standing in a pond holding a lightning rod. One strong gust of wind and this building is going to collapse right on us. I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die!

Fortunately we all made it. The next year we were in a new building. No mice, no birds, no matchstick walls. I miss my old classroom. It no longer even exists.

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I've always been a big fan of teachers, even before I became one. I particularly loved:
1. Mrs. Ellis, my kindergarten teacher, because she loved me. She was kind and good and I still remember part of the alphabet poem we recited every single day. I still think of her from time to time.
2. Mrs. Hansen, my first grade teacher, because she was smart and strict and a fun. Her husband worked at Radio Shack and she always brought in all these neat gadgets. Like an inflatable robot. It only visited our class for one day. I always wondered if she took it home because she knew I was looking at that thing. . .and plotting world domination.
3. Mrs. Mitchael, who made me be all creative and stuff and it drove me nuts. I was perfectly fine being lazy and mediocre.
4. Mr. Kniseley, who I had for like seven years.  (It was a very small school, and he later taught my college Spanish classes.)  He adopted a group of us into his family, and I loved to see what a great dad he was to his girls. Though he was really weird and didn't let his kids watch but a few hours of  TV a night. (Now I'm the TV snob.) I traveled to D.C and other places with him. He made me see there was more out there than my small town. He brought culture to those who would listen and see. And I did. He was also the first teacher who asked, “Jen, what do you really want to be?” I hadn't told anyone this. I felt stupid to even put it out there. “A writer,” I finally said. “Then”–he smiled– “go be a writer.”  When I graduated from college he gave me the famous Annie Lamott book Bird by Bird. (The fact that he immediately borrowed it and never returned the thing should turn down any Josh Groban solos playing in your mind.)

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So what about you? Who's your most favorite teacher ever?


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 19 comments
Lisa Carter Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder - May 4, 2011

Miss Fleetwood, my fifth grade teacher, who taught me to love history—the subject I eventually ending up teaching myself. We were her first class and she loved us so much that when our group moved to the middle/high school and a history position opened, she followed us.

Mrs. Perry, my high school English teacher. Beautiful woman. Tough. no nonense, old school teacher—I’ve modeled my style after her much to the chagrin of my students. Gave me a love for literature. Opened my eyes to world travel through her adventures. Told me I was a writer.

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Tay - May 4, 2011

My favorite teacher would defintely be my kindergarten teacher…I mean who hates their kindergarten teacher?

I also love my AP English teacher this year. She constantly keeps us laughing and I never dread going to her class.

Thank God for our wonderful teachers. Without them, we would be dumb(er) 🙂

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Carla - May 4, 2011

My favorite teacher would have to be my mom. She taught 6th grade. Unfortunatley, she never got to be my 6th grade teacher. She passed away with lukemia when I was 7. Because of her, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I remember meeting one of her former students 8 years later. She freaked out when she realized who my mom was. She said that my mom was her favorite and best teacher ever. I remember thinking that’s all I want. I want one student I’ve taught in my life to say I was the best teacher ever.
Another thing I remember is getting to go to her class when I was in kindergarten. She had a pencil with a troll doll (crazy, whispy hair)on it. She would tell the class that it would tell if they behaved when she stepped out.because of neat vs. Wild hair. She would step out for a second and without hesitation, a student would jump up and mess the hair. Oh how that made her laugh.

Thank you for being a teacher…you are a hero to someone and to most parents!

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Jenny - May 4, 2011

Mrs. Hussey – she taught 4th grade (but I didn’t have her then) & when she moved up to 8th grade I had her for English. We did a cool debate that year in class, I still have a paper I wrote for her…somewhere, and she was at a slumber party once because she was friends with the b-day girl’s mom & she had us call her by her 1st name. How cool is that to a group of elementary students? Half the time we didn’t even realize they had 1st names 🙂 She retired, moved west with her husband, and years later is teaching again.

I’d just like to say I don’t know Carla, but I found her response very touching.

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Jenny B Jones - May 4, 2011

Lisa, I love history too. Always wished I had double majored in it.

Tay, I wonder if our kindergarten teachers are often faves because they come with cookies and milk?

Carla, my gosh, I had no idea. What a powerful legacy your mom left. And I have heard you are a KICK BUTT teacher. I know those kids love you.

Jenny, everyone should know Carla. She’s positively awesome. : ) And I totally know what you mean about the first name. They have names?

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Liv - May 4, 2011

My mom, of course. I’ve been home schooled since 4th grade and love, Love, LOVE my mom. But my dad used to sub English. I STILL wish I could be in one of his classes. My parents are both amazing people.

Love ’em!

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Liv - May 4, 2011

Oh! And I’ve always dreamed about Eliza Doolittle being my Phonetics teacher, Oh wouldn’t it be loverly!

🙂

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Kristin - May 4, 2011

When I was in the 7th grade, my literature teacher was really young- not long out of college. She always gave us the coolest assignments. We had to do like 6 book reports, but they were never the usual written reports, they were always fun. And she had a mini lending library in the classroom, which as a big reader, I thought was the best thing ever! And she did a small unit on musicals (now I try to remember how she fit that into literature class, LOL), and showed us video clips of famous musicals. Including the “If I Were a Rich Man” scene from Fiddler on the Roof. That song stuck with me for years and was the beginning of my obsession with musicals. =)

~Kristin

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Allie Smith - May 4, 2011

Mr.Kokubun.He’s Hawaiin and absolutely the most amazing teacher ever!!!He teaches tenth grade homeroom and ever since seventh grade i had heard stories about how great he was and couldn’t wait till he’d finally be my teacher.Now i have only 4 more weeks with him as my teacher and this year has been bearable because of him.i remember i had just been through a difficult breakup with my boyfriend of one year,i walked into the classroom the next day unable to control my tears.then, once everyone had sat down,Mr.K played a song called “Gods Been Good.” He said,”Listen to this part: ‘and though I’ve had my share of hard times,i wouldn’t change them if i could,cuz through it all Gods been good.” He listened wen my mom and I had disagreements,always encouraging me to obey and submit; he listened to my cry in confusion wen,only a month or two after the breakup,my ex found a new girlfriend; and ultimately he let me know that i had my own talents to bring to the table, that i am not my sisters,i have skills that they dont and i will influence my peers in my own way.i wouldn’t have made it through this year without him and i’ll always be grateful!!!

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Ruth - May 5, 2011

Great post! Gosh, I have been blessed with so many great teachers…Ms. Martindale brought US history to life in a fantastic way and reminded everyone that spunk knows no age limit. 🙂 Ms. Hofstetter – best English teacher EVER (in my experience *g*), and a good friend.

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Jennie - May 5, 2011

Mrs. Emmerine! (2nd grade) She totally understood that teacher’s learn differently and never made me feel stupid when I asked for help. She was encouraging and kind and found ways to work with me. Mrs. Kowbal (3rd) for making me love to read even though at the time I hated it. Now I hardly ever leave the house with out a book, because you never no one the freeway is going to back up or something. And finally, Mr. Klever (Senior year) because he listened to everyone and asked the most random questions and had some slightly inappropriate jokes involving sentence structure. He was insane but fun.

These teachers all influenced why I wanted to become a teacher in the first place.

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Clare - May 5, 2011

I”m about to graduate this year, and I’ve been homeschooled my entire life, so my mother has always been my teacher (unless you count sunday school teachers, and in that case my second grade one was the best). With that being said, I could never have had asked for a better one. I think God has a sense of humor, because the way He made me is, in alot of ways, the exact opposite to the way He made my mom. She loves geometry; I can’t stand the stuff (who knew shapes could be so evil?) She doesn’t write at all; I’m addicted to writing. 😀 With all of our differences though, she made learning fun for me and never made me feel stupid when I had to go over something again… and again… again… 😀

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Allie - May 5, 2011

I’m going to have to say that kindergarten teacher was my favorite . For two reasons one she taught me that when you bite people they no longer share their cookies with you and two she didn’t call me stupid on that dark day when I got a rock stuck in my nose during nap time…

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Angie - May 5, 2011

I’ve had some really good teachers but there is one that really made an impact on my life. It was my 7th grade science teacher. One day she gave us the birds and bees talk but she started it off with what God says..that you should wait until you get married. She said that if God wanting you to wait wasn’t good even for you and then she went into all the STDs and such. But I remember sitting there and thinking, “Well, if that is what God says then it’s good enough for me.” And that’s what I did I waited and waited and waited..then finally God introduced me to my hubby. 🙂 Looking back, I realize that she probably could have gotten into trouble for sharing her faith in the school room but I’m so thankful she did and really wish I could find her to thank her.

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ashley - May 5, 2011

Where to begin!? Does it only count if you can remember their names? Ok then.
1. Mrs. Rose, 5th grade, Nova Elementary. She knew I talked a lot and she turned that into good. On the last day of 5th grade she wrote in my yearbook, “You’re going to be our first female President.” I suddenly feel like I’ve really let her down.
2. Mrs. Jackson, choir/drama high school. She let us get bat sh*t crazy in class. Bc it was drama! But she also taught us the most beautiful song rendition of “The Prayer” We sang it on Graduation Day for the class above us and everyone there (including the singers!) were teary eyed. Move over, Celine. She also gave me my first solo! Big mistake, big, huge!
3. Can we do a coach? Yes. Good. Coach Willis. High school track. Just read my blog, you’ll see what an impression he made on my life. (and it wasn’t even my best OR favorite sport) I never ran track or further than a soccer field until 9th grade. He assigned me to the hurdles and 4×200 relay and changed my life. So supportive, so funny. On days where we’d run the cross country course, he’d come out of the bushes on a golf cart to make sure we weren’t cheating and walking. I loved that.

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Erin McFarland - May 5, 2011

Mr. Rothery…high school calculus. He was the father of my best friend growing up, so I knew him as Tom or even “Dad” before the high school years…it was actually really strange to have to call him “Mr.” :). I am not necessarily a math person, so the only reason i ended up taking (and passing) that unnecessary kind of math was because Mr. Rothery told me I could do it. And believe me, i needed all the extra tutoring i could get, so he welcomed me and whoever else didn’t get it the first 5 explanations to meet early at school for help. I’m so thankful for the teachers that went beyond the hours they were required to give their students to see them be successful. I had teachers that were complete opposite of that too, so the the teachers that went the extra mile, the ones you could tell really loved teaching and really loved kids, I don’t think i’ll ever forget their names…with that said, kudos as well to Mrs. Parkhill, VanSant, Bjerkestrand, Kinsler, Gun, Templeton, Mr. Mattson, Reed, and Boomer.
And Happy Teacher Appreciation week to YOU Jenny…it’s easy to see that you love your kids.

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bookwyrm14 - May 5, 2011

My favorite teacher would have to be Mr. Niggl, my science teacher from 7th grade to now in 9th. I actually don’t really like science, but he made me appreciate it just cause it was obvious he loved it so much. Not in a geeky or corny way either. It was just his passion. And he really enjoys teaching us (unlike other teachers who act like they are being put through the rack). He’s just so geniune that it’s hard not to like him. Because of him, I entered my science project into a state competitions in 8th grade and won 1st!

BTW, happy teacher’s appreciation day to u Jenny B.! Hope u are appreciated!

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Emilee - May 7, 2011

My Mom is my teacher 🙂
She has been since I was in Kindergarten…So she’s my favorite!

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Flossie :) - May 9, 2011

Oh. My. Word. My kindergarten teacher was named Mrs. Ellis toooo!!!!

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