by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Another informal survey:
Teachers Remember Their Favorite Teachers
My "favorite teacher" would have to be my fifth grade teacher. She was, as I remember it, the "first" teacher who seemed to like to teach, liked kids, treated us like we were important, read aloud to us, had a soft manner about her, yet we knew she meant business and always had a smile and a kind word for us. I spent time in her 5th grade classroom as part of the "Future Teachers of America" group. During that time, she had become our "first" teacher to work with the special needs children. I sat side-by-side with her as she tried to teach a student the word "it." At this point, I knew I was heading into the right career. I went back to see her after I had proceeded through my college years to let her know what an impact she had on my life. Her memory will be that she was a wonderful teacher and person and how she touched the lives of so many with her giving and unselfish spirit. GTR
You know it's so hard to pick out just one teacher. I guess I was blessed to have many teachers who were my "favorite"! The one I'll always remember, though, was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Till (she has been gone for many years now). I think she is the most memorable because she is the only teacher I can ever remember starting out the year absolutely hating! She had reprimanded me the year before for interrupting when she was talking to my 2nd grade teacher and I thought I would never forgive her for that, but was I wrong. It took several weeks for me to begin to appreciate her, but by Christmas I was hers!
She loved to read and would read aloud to us everyday. She was an excellent, expressive reader and I would lose myself in the stories! Beyond that, she believed in hands on. We made a life size Santa Claus and snowman out of paper mache. We put on several plays and even a musical! We made pinatas! We (along with the rest of the students in our k-12 school) stood along the side of the road in our very tiny midwestern town to wave as President Eisenhower's motorcade drove by. But, we were probably the only class that knew why he was coming through Iowa! This was long before the Internet and instant information. It was even before most people had TVs. Our town didn't have a newspaper or a library! But, current events were a daily focus and Mrs. Till made sure we knew about the world that existed outside of our little community.
When I became a teacher my one hope was that I could be half as memorable, enthusiastic and dedicated as Mrs. Till. I know she's probably up there, educating the angels! Bonnie Fulgham
One of my favorite teachers from elementary school years was a music teacher that I remember having in 4th, 5th and 6th grade (at two different schools, so she must have been sharing a couple of schools). She taught me a love of vocal harmony and directed the first chorus I was ever in. I stuck with choral music for the rest of my school days, majoring in music, and I still think of her as a mentor ("Hmmmm, how did Mrs. Randolph teach us that?") When I graduated from college and got my first music teaching job, I wrote to her in care of the school district, hoping that she would still be there. It took a year, but I heard back from her - she had retired but was still in the area during the summers. That was 20 years ago. Donna Ransdell
Thank you for the opportunity to honor a very special teacher. My favorite teacher was Helen Roomey. Mrs. Roomey was my high school United States History teacher. She was an extraordinary woman who sparked my love of learning. Before I was in her class I was bored and uninterested in school. But her wonderful guidance opened doors for me I never knew existed.
She allowed students to think! Imagine that! This was in 1962 and she allowed me to read Animal Farm and analyze it by comparing and contrasting forms of government. That was not a popular thing for a teacher to do in those days and in fact caused quite a stir at the school. But Mrs. Roomey was adamant that I be allowed to do this for her class. I learned more about democracy and freedom from Mrs. Roomey than any one can imagine. Maybe that is why as a library media specialist I am so aware of my responsibility to provide resources that are free from bias and that encompass diverse ideas and opinions. Thank you Mrs. Roomey. You changed my life in wonderful ways. Kathy Sutusky
The person who inspired me to become a teacher was my 12th grade Current Events Social Studies teacher. He was amazing. He always wanted to hear what everyone had to say, and he always let us, the students, lead the class in ways that he could have never planned. I remember him assigning a mock senate and each of us was a senator and we actually had to debate various issues. It really helped me learn about the government.
The thing I remember most was when I told him that I was thinking about becoming a teacher. He told me that he had some advice to live by. "Anyone can teach the kids that want to learn and want to be there... but it takes someone special, a teacher to teach the kids that don't." I love that man, and I am always inspired by his words. Cathy Kramer- MI
My favorite teacher was my 8th grade teacher in a Catholic school. She ran a structured classroom, spoke to us like young adults, and encouraged us to be our best even when we didn't feel quite up to it. Mrs. B was always there for me when I needed to talk. She always knew the right thing to say. She was compassionate. What a charismatic personality! She was a gem among people because she cared about me and all her 18 girls! She had high expectations and we lived up to them. Mrs. B shared snippets of her life with us so we knew she was a real person.
Mrs. B wrote in my autograph book that I was a special person whom she just adored and that she knew I would grow up and fulfill my dreams.
I lost track of this marvelous lady who taught me 34 years ago, but her memory is fresh in my mind. The last time I saw her was in the summer of 1968, but I can still see her face, her sparkling smile and hear her saying, " Well, for goodnight...!"
She inspired me every day by her example, her faith, and her love! I try to be like her every day as and I go about my life's work of teaching and inspiring my students. (unsigned)
My favorite teacher was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson. Everyday she read to us from chapter books such as Stuart Little, Charolette's Web, House on Pooh Corner, to name a few. I also remember that she told stories about her sons. She was a warm, caring person, and I'll never forget her. Barbara, 3rd grade in 1957
I had two special teachers. One in fourth grade; and one in high school. Mr. "H" taught fourth grade. He was a strict disciplinarian, "old," not a keen dresser. He had out-of-style glasses, and I can't remember anything academic that he taught me, but I remember he took an interest in me personally. He and his wife invited about 5 students, me included, to their house to swim at the end of the school year. I felt that was such an honor.
I continued to visit him whenever possible, until we moved away. Being from a family of seven children, I liked feeling special to someone. I think many kids from much smaller families don't "feel special" these days. Parents are busy. Both parents work, etc.
Second, Mr. "D" taught Social Studies. He was young, had small children, and a pretty wife. He shared about his personal life which made me think about my future. He took time to make up games for several of us during guided study to help us with our social studies tests that were coming up. I had never thought about putting effort into my education and at that time things weren't just coming easy for me anymore. He really taught me how to study for a test and helped me get back on track. (unsigned)
In middle school, a time when I felt entirely out of place and entirely confused about life -- where do I belong? No longer a little kid, not yet a teenager. I had a magnificent teacher who entirely changed my outlook on everything. I was always a straight A student from first grade right on through sixth grade. A goody two shoes, teachers pet, you know the one -- that was me. All of my teachers were good to me. They taught me well. They pampered me. I had free reign because I was the good one, the smart one, the one who could be trusted. This was a great way for me to get by, until those tough "in between" years.
In seventh grade, I was put in the honors class with the other "smart kids". I absolutely HATED IT!! I was academically similar to my peers in this class, but that was all. I was in no way socially aligned with them. I was the loner. The girl with the long hair in her eyes. The one who wore the ripped up jeans and listened to the heavy music. My very best friend -- my one and only soul mate who understood the strange trials of being an "in between" kid -- was not in my class. Not up to par, in the eyes of whomever makes those decisions. She was in the level one class, the class one step below mine. To us this was a fate worse than death. The only class we had together was our elective. We both chose Media.
The media teacher was also the librarian. His name was Mr. Lumsden. He immediately took my friend and me under his wing. He allowed us to come to school early and work in the library. We were also allowed to come during "study" periods, lunch, and after school. We practically ran the school library. We learned SO MUCH about SO MANY THINGS from this teacher. He gave us the responsibility that we so longed for. He also gave us the time together that we needed! In the eighth grade, he fought for my best friend to be put into the honors class. We continued to work in the library and learn from this teacher.
When we left to go to high school, Mr. Lumsden bought us both beautiful bracelets with our names engraved in them as appreciation for all the work we had done with him. He was just so special to us. He let us know that teachers can be people too, and that they can respect kids as people. His influence is what made me want to become a teacher -- actually I wanted to be a librarian , but decided later on to become a teacher. In my heart I would still love to be a librarian some day. When we went on to highschool, we would still go back to the middle school and work and talk with him after school. He always encourgaged us -- which I needed a whole lot of during my high school years.
When I had my first child, I hunted him down to tell him. When I graduated from college with my teaching degree, I wrote him a letter to let him know. He got me an interview in the school system where I went to school and eventually I was hired here. He never forgot my friend and I and we will never forget him. If it weren't for this teacher, I think my life would have gone very differently. I think I would have become an outcast and become disillusioned with school (which did occur later in high school). He made me feel like I was the "normal" one and everyone else was crazy! That was what I needed!
Sorry this has gone on so long, but if you've gotten this far without deleting, then I guess you can see how special this teacher was to me! Heather
My third grade teacher made it a point to make me feel special. He would put his hand on my shoulder and ask me each day, "How are you doing?" I knew he knew I was a foster child and that he wanted me to know that I was very special. Dee Don
My Favorite Teacher was Mr. Richard Gebbia who taught at Sts Peter & Paul Elementary School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn circa 1969. He was the first teacher that seemed to really "care" and made learning math fun. He let our class set up a pretend store and made learning about money a breeze. I wish I could let him know how much he has influenced my own teaching. Thanks Mr. Gebbia Adele
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Thompson. She was my first grade teacher at East Elementary in Craig, CO. I remember that she always made me feel special and smart. I can still remember her smiling at us all of the time. She had moved away by the time I was in the fourth grade. My fourth grade teacher told me at open house that Mrs. Thompson had written to her and asked about me! That made me feel extra special! Jennifer Willems (Trujillo)
My favorite teacher was my fourth grade teacher. She was an older lady. She made us all feel very special. She was kind and gentle. Everyone loved her. There was a big article in the paper about her when she retired. Apparently she was everyone's favorite teacher!! Sherri McWhorter
One of my favorite teachers that I will always remember and keep in my heart is my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Murphy. One day in class she read us the book Katy-No-Pockets. (My name is Katie) and I always had pants with pockets in them. So from that point on she called me Katie-No-Pockets. She also made learning fun. I am terrible at math, but she made it fun for me. I was also a slow reader at the time. So she called my parents one night saying that she wanted to do something that she felt would help me out. The next day I was put into two reading groups to help me out. Now, she could have just let it go, but she also tried to work with individually. After second grade I began working for her before school as a service girl, I did this until I went into middle school. When I graduated from High school she was also there. And she will also be attending my wedding in 2 years. She has since retired to take care of her dad, but in her heart and mind she will always be a teacher. (Katherine A Cowlbeck)
My High School Shorthand/Transcription teacher.... I was dirt poor from the wrong side of town and back then (the 60s) those things mattered A LOT!!! She never seemed to notice (and teachers were just as locked into the caste system as the students) or care.... She liked me! And that carried me a long way. I ended up with an engineering degree, found out I didn't care for the field and so went into teaching. It took me until my 50’s to find my true calling in life, but I wonder where I'd be had Mrs. M. not believed in me!
I suspect that most of us remember a teacher who cared...not as a matter of job, but as a matter of individual caring. (unsigned)