Friday, May 7, 2010

Flashback Friday - Favorite Teachers

Tell us about the teachers from your school days. Who were your favorites? Why did you like them? How did they influence your life, your occupation, or another aspect? Have you ever gone back & seen or contacted a favorite teacher to express your appreciation? Do you still keep up with any of your teachers? Was Teacher Appreciation Day/Week celebrated when you were in school? (Just share about favorites this week; we'll visit the not-so-stellar teacher memories another day!)


When I was starting 5th grade, I was scared to death that I would get Mrs. Boyd. She was an older teacher who was very mean strict. And anyone in the school was fair game to receive her scolding. I held my breath when she came in to read the names for her new class, and sure enough, mine was on the list! As you can probably guess, she ended up being one of my favorite teachers. And part of that reason was the fact that her class was well-behaved. The one thing I always thought was kind of funny was the Gideon Bible she had on her desk. She used it during class once a week. . . .on Mondays to randomly stick her finger between two pages and the team captain whose guess was the closest got to pick first for kickball at recess!

My all-time favorite teacher was my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Fanett ("One N, two T's" was her mantra!). She. Was. Wonderful. She was hard. She made us work. But she also made it fun. And she inspired us to do our best. I remember that my best friend and I looked across the class at each other as we thought, "What are we getting ourselves into?" when she assigned a research paper on the first day of school. But we quickly realized that we were blessed to be in her class. One of several stand-out memories was that we read Our Town, and after that, every time we sang Blest Be The Tie That Binds in church, we would think of her. What fun it was to discover at the end of the year that she was (and she still is!) a Christian!

Other memorable novels included The Bear by Faulkner (which I will always remember for the vocabulary word juxtaposition, as well as the chapter that was all one sentence!) and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I smile as I remember such notable assignments as the dreaded Critical Review, endless vocabulary lists, the hated analogies for the SAT, and a plethora of papers to be written, including the one where I learned the most: writing a descriptive paper of our physical attributes without using any "be" verbs. (Couldn't write My hair is brown; instead, I wrote Brown wavy hair frames my face.) It was so hard to do, but it was also one of the most wonderful learning and stretching experiences I've ever had. I still have some of my papers from her class (and she penned fun comments and smiley faces in the margins as she graded them). We also read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, and I can still recite her favorite Thoreau quote:
If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away.

I still exchange Christmas cards with her, and about 10 years after I graduated from high school, I cross-stitched and framed that Thoreau quote and gave it to her. She was absolutely delighted and tells me it hangs proudly in her breakfast room. I had wanted to be a nurse practically all my life, but after having her, I considered majoring in English. She epitomized the best of teaching, and her recent retirement leaves a huge void in the world of high school English.

Now it's your turn! Post your favorite teacher memories on your blog and link up here!


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Beverlydru said...

Thanks for doing this! I needed a writing prompt and found that I could have put you to sleep by writing pages on this subject. (I refrained since it was just supposed to be a post, not a paper.)

Barbara H. said...

I love your descriptions of your most inspiring teachers. I always appreciated the ones who had well-behaved classrooms without being harsh, and the ones who pushed us without being unreasonable. I love that writing assignment -- what a good exercise!

bp said...

Great memories, Linda!I'll be back later to share mine!

Happy Mother's Day.

Unknown said...

Mine's up!

What an affirmation you are to your teacher. I know that was a huge reinforcement to all her hard work and yours.


sara said...

I didn't participate this week because I honestly could not think of a favorite teacher....sad. I was a bright kid, but when I got bored (and often was in school), I got in trouble. Instead of redirecting me, as many teachers do now, I became the target of punishment..some that would cause law suits this day and age. So I came to believe my teachers that I was not smart and school was not for me. I did not become a "bad" student, I just became an "average" student and no one ever encouraged me to be anything else.

Thankfully, in young adulthood, I realized my worth in Christ and it changed me forever!!!

I have made a point to personally thank every teacher that took an interest in my children!

quilly said...

What a special teacher. The ones who love their subject and take it seriously make such a huge difference in our lives.

riTa Koch said...

Funny I had wanted to be a nurse also, because when I was growing up there were these young women whom I admired who were studying nursing.
I am SO GLAD I did not follow that career. When I became a teacher, it felt so right.