Originally posted February 10, 2011.
This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post. Today I want to write about some of the exceptional teachers I have encountered either as a student or educator.
My third grade teacher, Mrs. J was one of those teachers who made learning fun. She had the ability to keep students on a wide range of levels actively engaged in learning. She used many life lessons and practical things to teach not just books. She instilled a thirst for learning and encouraged independent learning. After the school year started a new building opened and our class moved to a new room. One of the activities was to paint our classroom. Our class spent time researching the perfect paint for the classroom. We selected a color that would keep the room bright. We even had to figure out how many gallons of paint would be needed. For her my learning disabilities were just minor hurdles. Instead of focusing on my bad handwriting she had me work on activities to improve my fine motor skills. Our class had desks with the chairs attached that spun around. At times it was impossible for an extremely ADHD child like myself to sit still. Mrs. J would allow me to move to a table at the back of the room or even sit on a special carpet square on the floor.
In upper elementary school music class was a haven from a school day that was at times unbearable. Mrs. T made music class a fun place. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t write or had a hard time sitting still. Mrs. T encouraged her students to participate. We had to participate in class talent shows periodically. In one, my “act” failed miserably. Of course, my classmates responded by laughing and making fun of me. Mrs. T quickly stopped it and proceed to praise my effort to try something different. This was not the only time she encouraged me to try something different or encouraged my creativity. After turning in a poorly written report for class she had me stay after school to fix it. I expected to be yelled at or punished. By this time in my school career I really didn’t try because I had learned that no matter how hard I worked my teachers would rarely give me more than a passing grade. Instead Mrs. T took the time to help me put together a good report. She believed I was capable of more and was smart.
In high school I had three teachers that recognized my potential and would not allow me to slide through class. My high school keyboarding teacher had a reputation for being very tough. She was notorious for sending unsatisfactory progress reports home. I had a rough start in her class. Mrs. H was constantly on my case about not working. I did well on the knowledge part of tests but poorly on the performance part. I tried to explain that I had a problem with coordination. Mrs. H decided to call my mom. It was after this Mrs. H became determined to help me pass her class. She was not required to stay after school helping me complete class assignments. Mrs. W was another teacher that teamed up with my mom to help me not only pass her class but graduate. I learned a lot from Mrs. W. She often modified written assignments allowing me to complete them orally. Mrs. G, my senior English teacher and speech coach, tried to convince me that I could write. By the time I had reached my senior year in high school I avoided anything that involved writing at all costs. Getting words on paper was not a pleasant experience. At the time I couldn’t understand why my usual B’s or C’s on writing assignments were not acceptable. It seemed futile to keep revising and rewriting papers because I was not capable of writing. Oh, I just want to say Mrs. G you were correct I can write.
One of the best teachers I have ever had was in graduate school. Dr. B is able to relate her subject matter that is interesting. Sometimes I would become engrossed in the lectures that I forgot to take notes. While she demanded excellence from her students, she also truly cared.
I believe that the Big Guy is one of the best natural teachers I have ever met. The Big Guy never intended to become a teacher. While in graduate school (the first time) he took a job teaching part-time at the school where I was teaching and loved it. The Big Guy has a way of making learning fun and interesting. He is not afraid to try new and creative things in his class. He is fun to watch because it obvious that he actually enjoys imparting knowledge to his students.