Teachers are feeling the brunt of the recent COVID surge. They want to teach but keep themselves, their familes and the kids safe. Yet, we owe so much to our teachers, especially those that changed our lives.
I am biased as my mother was a teacher. I saw how hard she worked grading papers into the night, offering constructive feedback and encouragement to each student. I have seen criticism of teachers when they are looking for pay increases around them not working a full year. But, when you add up their hours and compare them to those of the average year-around working person, they have nothing to be ashamed of in that category.
Please indulge me as I remember a few of my teachers – I will focus on Grades 1 – 12, as I can do an entire post of college professors..
- I remember Ms. Shrout, the tiniest of high school teachers, exude passion as she taught us Algebra and Trigonometry. She had to stand on her toes to write long solutions from the top of the board. And, she was funny and made us laugh as she taught us so much.
- I remember Ms. Bowden, who no one would ever accuse of being warm and fuzzy, show her big heart and big mind as she taught us Chemistry and Physics. She treated everyone so fairly and gave up so much of her time as a softball and basketball coach. Ironically, I first met her when I was nine as she was my swimming instructor at the community pool.
- I remember Mr. Franks who taught us Civics in junior high school. He made learning fun about how society should work, that I would love to see him teach folks today who need it so much. He was as engaging and inviting of dialogue as any teacher I ever had before I got to college.
- I remember Ms. Regan who taught us Literature in high school. She made reading the classics enjoyable, helping us get beneath the stories that sometimes got hidden in the fanciful prose and poetry. Our classes were enjoyable and engaging. She also gave of herself as a tennis coach.
I could mention more, but wanted to highlight a few. I noted a couple of these teachers also coached the kids after school. They would spend a lot of extra time to help others in so doing, but if I remember correctly got US$500 per annum in extra compensation for all those hours of work at practice and games.
Let me know about some of your favorite teachers and why. Each of the above had a different style, but each conducted classes that were interactive and engaging, which is what it is all about.
I too recall so many influential teachers Keith. They are a rare and giving breed. It’s a disgrace the way they are taken advantage of in Florida. Administrators have abandoned responsibility and placed it all on the shoulders of teachers who as professionals are at bottom of pay and other benefits. It’s not surprising that now they are at the front line of the pandemic and being persecuted for wanting to stay safe and keep others safe. It’s really shameful.
Holly, thanks. As a former Floridian, very little of what the Florida governor does and does not do would fall in the bucket of good governance. He has hyper-politicized the response to COVID, so of course the state is in an embarrassing disarray. Teachers and nurses are threatened by an irresponsible governor. The citizens of Florida deserve better, in my view as an independent. Keith
I agree. Our Governor is a disaster for Floridians. His political aspirations are first and Formosa in his actions as our Governor. I hope to help vote him out.
Holly, people have been harmed by this governor, yet they still kowtow to him. Keith
My most influential teacher was my 4th grade teacher. She made me feel like nothing in life was impossible for me. She didn’t allow my family’s extreme poverty or my parents’ inability to read, get in the way of what she thought I could do. She put me in the highest reading group and the highest math group – seeing potential in me that was empowering and inspiring. If every educator was like this, and treated with the esteemed respect and pay they deserve, imagine what our society could look like. I’ve had many other really great teachers, and a few terrible teachers.
Rose, what a great story. You have overcome a great deal. I had some great elementary school teachers as well. And, over twelve years and in college, I had a couple of pretty poor teachers. Keith
I’ve had some great teachers too (and a few that probably shouldn’t have gone into that profession). My 1st grade teacher is still around and I see her every once in a while. We gathered a bunch of her students together for a luncheon for her several years ago… she was thrilled.
Janis, what a great story. I am glad you did that for her. Mostly, I had good or better teachers, but I had a few that should have left earlier. Keith
That’s a wonderful tribute to people who definitely do impact the lives of young people. Many in such a good and supportive way, some unfortunately not which also influences. I remember a few role models. One teacher was Mrs. Kleiner. She was at least 70 years old when she was my class teacher in second grade. Gosh, was she strict, we feared and loved her at the same time. She always came to school by bus. When she walked down the long access road to the school building, there was accompanied and followed by dozens of children. We were her last class before she retired. The next school year, our teacher had to leave for a few days. When she told us that her substitute teacher was Mrs. Kleiner, we screamed for joy. We moved to Liechtenstein a year later but I stayed in touch with her for many years as a pen pal. Can you imagine, a teenager having her 70somthing-year-old teacher as a pen pal?
Thank you for bringing up these beautiful memories, Keith!
Erika, that is a terrific story. No, I cannot imagine a pen pal, especially given the age difference. Thanks for sharing, Keith
She was one of a kind. Teaching was her life. I believe she was never married and had no children of her own. My pleasure. Like so many of your posts, it takes the reader back to their own memories. Wonderful!
Erika, thanks again. It makes the post live when folks like you share your memories. Take care, Keith
Note to Readers: I have shared this before, but I read a story about a grade school teacher who handed out a list of the kids’ names and asked the students to write one word descriptions about each person on the page focusing on something nice about them. She then collated the descriptions by student and handed them out at the end of the year. Many of the kids saved these tiny summaries for decades.
Was just talking about my 5/6 teacher today. She encouraged each of us to follow our passions above and beyond the curriculum. Her teachings remain with today.
VJ, what great advice that you remember to this day. Thanks for sharing. Keith
Note to Readers: I tried to learn from all of my teachers and did so. I had a number of solid teachers that imparted knowledge. I also had some that could have done better, but learned from them as well. I never had great Calculus teachers, but I did learn from them. It was not until I got into my major that required Calculus, that I learned it better from an excellent teacher.
Growing up in the still authoritarian era of British school, teachers were remote creatures, sometimes feared, and generally eccentric in one way or another.
From the age of 12 to 16 Chemistry was taught by a Mr Davies, a volatile fellow, but also one with a certain level of enthusiasm that was infectious. Such as the time when a crew of usually indolent lads (self included) came rushing up to him saying we’d discovered similarities and parallels between Carbon and Silicone on the Periodic Table, he beamed at us quite indulgently.
Then when booming with glee from exam results and yelled at him ‘Sir! I’ve passed Chemistry’ (this was the nationally set exam, to which he replied ‘I bloody well knew you would Jacob!’…..A teacher using profanities to a pupil in 1967- still rings fresh.
Great memories. Thanks for sharing them. Keith