Today is World Teachers Day. Have you thanked your favorite teacher today?
In my last post, I asked for names of teachers who make a difference. In this post I’m going to list them– as well as many of my own teachers– to celebrate their hard work and dedication to help kids learn.
I would like to thank the following people, some of whom are no longer with us, for what they taught me about life and learning:
Ward Carhart– my 6th grade classroom teacher. He was the tough teacher that everyone hoped they wouldn’t get. There was another teacher on his team who was seen as the fun guy. Not Mr. Carhart. He was gruff and he expected a lot out of his students. When the phone call came about a week before school started, I was a little sad that Mr. Carhart was on the other line. I wanted the more popular teacher… but during that school year, I knew that I was actually one of the lucky kids. We were challenged by Mr. Carhart. He expected us to do our best. A compliment from him really meant something. By the end of that school year, I was proud to tell everyone who my 6th grade teacher had been!
Barb Wagner – Barb was my AP American History teacher my junior year of high school and also my Civics teacher my senior year. She was the first teacher to ever give me a progress slip because I was NOT doing well in her class. In fact, everyone in our AP American History class received one. We were honor students. Every single one of us on National Honor Society. None of us had ever received a progress slip because of poor performance! Talk about total devastation! But… she made us realize that we were not giving our best. We were doing mediocre work. We were writing essays that were poor quality on our exams. She asked us to provide answers that made us analyze and critique, rather than to simply recall or apply. She wanted well-formed arguments that defended the points we should be making. No teacher had ever done this before. When I look back at my own teaching career, I have always tried to remember Ms. Wagner’s challenge to have high expectations for ourselves and our students.
Mike Janis, Dwayne Price, Ruth Stephenson, William A. Wyman– each of these teachers taught me that music is an essential part of life, that I have an obligation to share the talents I was given with others, and that only my best is good enough for my students and audiences. They also had high expectations and modeled how to learn about life through music. I learned more life lessons from these four individuals than I could possibly recount in a blog post.
While putting my list together… I was more concerned about the people I would leave out. I’ve had some amazing teachers! I’m luckier than most, because I am able to see some of these people quite regularly and tell them how grateful I am for them!
A few people left comments on my last post and specifically named teachers that they feel are amazing! Here’s that list:
Jen Wagner said:
A teacher that needs to be noticed is Brent Coley — http://mrcoley.com/
He is encouraging his students to think daily and is showcasing their work for others to see.
He is encouraging his students to succeed by creating studycasts for their review before tests.
He is encouraging his students to share what they have learned by creating coleycasts which then can be used by other classrooms around the world.
He is encouraging his parents/fellowteachers/peers to keep in touch with him by providing a variety of ways to contact him.
He is encouraging other teachers by sharing what is is doing and how to do it. Plus, shares his resources freely.
His #1 goal is the success of each and every one of his students……individually and as a class.
He is a teacher to be watched. He is a teacher to be emulated. He is a teacher we should clone.
Kelly Tenkely said:
So here are just a few of the amazing teachers I have had the pleasure of working with:
Kerry– currently battling breast cancer (again) after being cancer free for 21 years. She takes the time to know each of her students personally. When she talks to her students she immediately drops to their level. She celebrates everyone of their successes and cheers them on when they are stumbling. Everything she does with the students is a learning adventure. She doesn’t settle for status quo.
Matthew– constantly challenges his students thinking. He doesn’t let them get away with the easy one word answer. He makes them question their beliefs and think critically. He helps them break free of the robot mentality and causes them to be real thinkers.
Susan– A P.E. teacher who believes that every student can shine and should try their best regardless of their athletic ability. She helps those kids who aren’t athletic feel valuable and encourages them to try everything. She celebrates them right where they are.
Karen– a librarian with a real passion for helping students discover that they love reading. She spends hours with them to discover their passions and interests so she can recommend a book they will love.
Christa– an art teacher that helps every student see the world through the eyes of an artist. She breaks down art into manageable pieces so that every single student feels success.
Mary Anne said:
I am drawn immediately to Heather Foster…a 3rd grade teacher here in town…she is able to encourage, challenge and nurture students at all levels in her room. Students who have had her previous years will say, yeah, I am in the Foster Family, and that is how they feel. They are free to experiment, reach, think and learn in her room. Mistakes are avenues to continue the learning and are celebrated. Each student is really motivated to do his/her best…
As a parent, I want her cloned…I want each child to have a chance to have a teacher who loves her job and loves them. The investment in each child is obvious to everyone around.
Lissa Metzler said:
My first year teaching I was fortunate enough to work with Gwen Baccus who with over 30 years of experience could work wonders with first graders. She had them writing amazing sentences, learning fractions, and one student who entered and won a speech competition. I learned a lot from her and her students were better people for having her.
Thanks to all the great teachers out there! You ARE appreciated more than you know!