By Susan Dunn, MA Psychology, Emotional Intelligence
It's National Teacher Appreciation Week. Here are ten reasons why I appreciate certain teachers I had. If you appreciate a teacher, let him or her know!
1. Mr. Thompson, my first-year Latin teacher.
He taught me to question! To use my brain and not allow myself to be spoon-fed. He told us verbs were conjugated one way on Monday, and then introduced the other way on Tuesday, saying, "And now you're saying, 'My teacher has lied to me.' Well, they do!" It kept me on my toes, so to speak, and brought me into the real world where the rules don't always apply and tricky things can happen.
2. Dr. Drake, my third-year Latin teacher.
Taught me how much I respect someone who stands for something and enforces it. The students had been picking on a girl I'll call Clara. Dr. Drake sent her from class one day on an errand, and gave us a lecture about how people were going to be treated in her classroom. I can still see her pacing the floor, making her point. Things changed for Clara after that ... and for me.
3. Mrs. English, my high school English teacher.
She cared enough to notice I was goofing off and called me on it, teaching me to respect myself. She refused to accept the half-a**** paper I had turned in, saying it was nowhere near what I was capable of producing, and told me to do it over.
4. Dr. Harriet Sheridan, college professor who taught me Principles of Teaching.
Dr. Sheridan gave me a role model for how a woman can live a balanced life. At the time, few women were working outside the home. She had a Ph.D. and taught full-time at the college, and also had 2 children. She invited us to her home often enough for me to see she was excellent at both.
5. Dr. Owen Jenkins, college English professor.
Taught me how to reason. And also that when you have self-confidence you can be warm and funny. Brilliant, he was also very funny. He taught the senior Logic Seminar. No quarters!
6. Mrs. Wilson, my fourth grade teacher.
Got me into the creative world. Coming from a household that was intellectual and didn't encourage creative work, I was a budding but un-acknowledged artist. Mrs. Wilson put one of my drawings on the cover of the school newsletter. I was never the same after that.
7. Miss Adams, my first grade teacher.
She showed me how much I loved to teach. I was assigned to teach the new girl, Janie Lambert, how to read. I've been teaching (and loving it) ever since.
8. Mrs. Sledge, my piano teacher.
She taught me discipline. I started, with great excitement at the age of 6 and learned I could learn something very hard if I would just stick with it. She taught character along with piano. I stood up tall when I walked in for my lessons (and when I walked out)!
9. Mr. Framingham, high school English teacher, who supervised my student teaching.
He taught me how to really teach. At the local high school, he taught the honors class and the remedial class, and under his supervision, I taught both. Anyone can teach the brightest and the best. Mr. Framingham knew how to teach people who were very difficult to teach. He told me senior year in high school would be their last chance for a formal learning experience, and he wanted to make it happen. Go Mr. Framingham!
10. Dr. Porter, my college Greek and Mythology teacher.
He (and really all the ones I've mentioned) taught me to love learning. So incredibly passionate about his field, he made Greek (the language), interesting ... every morning at 8 a.m. He couldn't wait to begin class. He never wanted to let us go. "Just one more thing," he would say, his eyes gleaming.
He, and all the other great teachers I've had, lit a fire under me, igniting a lifetime love of learning. I hope you've had some too! If so, pass it on.
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