Dear Future Teachers,
It's important to understand the qualities that make a great teacher, one that students will remember years after leaving their classroom. Teaching is so much more than simply giving lessons to students. In my post, "My Favorite Teacher", I shared about the teacher who inspired me to become an educator myself, and what qualities made him an impactful person in my high school career. I then asked you all to share your own stories of memorable educators, some of which I will be sharing today!
Here are some of the incredible stories shared by you all:
"Mr. King is one of my favorite teachers not only because he made me feel special, but because he had the ability and talent to make every single one of his students feel special. He gave each student the respect, admiration, and confidence that they needed to feel important and challenged us to reach our greatest potential; not just in the classroom, but in our lives as well. His teaching transcends beyond the literature we read because his classroom became a haven for many where we learned to find the meaning of life, which was to give life meaning." -Maria, NC, on her 9th and 10th grade teacher, Mr. King
"My teacher is Miss Josie Wood. She was my English teacher in 11th and 12th grade. Miss Wood created a comfortable space where students were invited to express their thoughts about work and weren't just bridled to the usual topics. I could talk to her about anything and trust that she would listen as more than an instructor, but a friend." -Daniela, NC, on her 11th and 12th grade teacher, Miss Wood
"My favorite teacher was my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Hill. She was pretty old, but the NICEST teacher I've ever had. Our fourth grade class was all Hispanic students, and while she didn't speak Spanish, she encouraged us to speak it around her so that she could learn the language through us." -Fabiola on her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Hill
"I was behind all of the other kids in my reading skills, so he [Mr. Langmead] took time out of his day, even on the weekends whenever the local library was open, to tutor me. It felt nice knowing that a teacher cared that much, and after that, my reading/English was always my best subject in school."
"Mrs. Martin was one of those rare teachers that could joke with you even during a lesson, but somehow still keep us on track. We had a running joke with each other where we could tease each other, and I've never been that comfortable with a teacher until I met her." -Both of the above stories are from Lailani on her Kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts and her 10th and 12th grade teacher in North Carolina
"My favorite teacher of all time would have to be my Virtual Enterprise (online business class) teacher, Mr. Jones. I had the chance to be taught by him four semesters in a row. I had become very interested in learning more about finance and even more about the many life lessons that comes with working in a small team for big projects. Within those two years, Mr. Jones had taught me so many different things not only about finance, but the whole world beyond the perspective that my younger brain ever had. The classes were funded for students to be able to travel to different events, and I was able to visit so many places in the U.S. that I had never been to before. I recently had the chance to study abroad for a semester because the college I attend today is the same college Mr. Jones introduced me to in high school. There are too many stories that I can talk about, so the point is that I thank Mr. Jones for directing me towards a career path that I'm in love with to this day. He was one of the few teachers that genuinely saw the potential in me, something that is important for every student to experience." -Anonymous, on their 11th and 12th grade teacher, Mr. Jones
"My favorite teacher was Mr. Henderson. He was my English teacher from 8th grade until I graduated from high school. He was supposed to retire after my junior year, but we convinced him to stay until we graduated. He's the reason that I decided to become a teacher; I always wanted to make a big difference in the world, especially for kids. He's also the sole reason I pursued Creative Writing. When I told my mom that I wanted to be a novelist, she asked me what my real job was going to be. Mr. Henderson always supported my writing, he saw potential in me before anyone else did. On our last day of senior year, he came into the gym where we were practicing for the graduation ceremony and gave each one of his beloved students a handwritten letter. I started crying when I opened it. I don't think he ever realized how much he meant to me." -Sydney, on her 8-12th grade teacher, Mr. Henderson
"I have had a few great teachers during my K-12 experience, but someone who has had a major impact in my life would be Mrs. O'Neal. She wasn't technically a teacher; she was my high school guidance counselor. It is her that I gave thanks to for being where I am today. She pushed me to set higher goals for myself, to do things that I never believed I was capable of doing, and she saw something in me that no other person in the education system did. She showed no doubt in my academic abilities and went above and beyond to help me reach my dreams for which I will forever be grateful." -Mayra, NC, on her high school guidance counselor, Mrs. O'Neal
"When I remember my favorite teachers, it wasn't always the school lessons they taught, but the lessons they taught me about being human that have made the greatest impact on my life. My favorite teachers encouraged me to speak my mind and empowered my voice when I felt insecure. I owe so much to these teachers, such as Mme Brooks, Mr. Attwood, Ms. Edelstein, Coach Beyle, Ms. G, and so many others. Thank you!" -Claire, NC, on her favorite teachers
"My teacher is Mr. Pang. He was my freshman year English teacher and my advisor for Echoes (my school's literary arts magazine). Mr. Pang is the most enthusiastic, selfless, and committed person I know. He has a deep care for the education, as well as personal lives of his students, because he knew we came from very diverse backgrounds and had different life struggles that impacted us on a daily basis. He was intentional with the support he gave his students and would always have an open door during lunch time, whether it was to review an assignment, chat, or talk about life. He was not only my teacher and advisor, but is one of my favorite people ever." -Jackie, MD, on her favorite teacher, Mr. Pang
Thank you so much to the individuals who submitted stories about their favorite teachers! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the wonderful people who have entered the teaching field, and I know other aspiring teachers will be inspired by the various ways educators touch lives. I look forward to hearing more stories that can be featured in future posts! If you have a favorite teacher, or if you have another touching story from your time in school, feel free to contact me by clicking here!