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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Thank a teacher

Thank a teacher

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I've been thinking a lot about the teachers who shaped my life over the years. The one who comes to mind first and foremost is Ms. Thames. She was my 2nd and 4th grade teacher, and - scandal! - one of the first teachers in that midwestern school to go by "Ms." She radiated so much love that she was almost luminous. She would take us on all kinds of outings- hiking through the forest, touring a local farm, or visiting an artist who made those cheesy macrame owls. Ms. Thames taught me to read and write and 'rithmatic, too, but way more than that, she taught me that there are a lot of pretty cool little miracles out there. I was elated to find that Ms Thames on Facebook, and that she's still teaching! I pinged her and she said she remembered me. Whether she did or not, we're Facebook friends now. :) Would love to hear stories of others' most influential teachers and what they taught you.

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Vincent Miholic's picture

To all of my colleagues, faculty and staff, at
Hanson Memorial High School in Franklin, LA:
For cultivating a reflective culture of
character through responsibility, integrity,
improvement and love, I am truly thankful and
grateful. Thank you for your unwavering
commitment and dedication. Vince

Yvie Killian's picture

As a first-year teacher, Diane Israel taught us choral music and confidence. Two lessons which can carry a girl through just about anything! She continues to spread these gifts, and every student of her's I've ever met holds the same gratitude to her. Truly the best of the best!

Lauri Lee's picture

Thank you to the excellent and inspiring teachers I had at Holton-Arms School. We were lucky to have so many who made such strong impressions: Bob Tupper, Carolyn Terry, Jean Hill, Annie Lippold, Paul Puckett, Diane Chong, Sally Alexander...I could go on. There were even teachers with whom I didn't have classes who clearly cared about the students and showed it in many ways each day.

Cheska Lorena's picture
Cheska Lorena
Science Teacher from the Capital District Region, New York

I've had many memorable teachers throughout my childhood and adolescent years, but those who really stood out to me are my preservice mentors from Fremont Professional Development School, Las Vegas. I struggled throughout my early practicum service, where negative experiences and interactions with my first supervisor made me really question my ability to teach. I loved education and I wanted to be a teacher with a passion, but was told I was not fit to teach and should give up.

I am glad that I persevered because I would not have had the opportunity to get to student teaching and find my lifelong mentors in my cooperative teacher and new supervisor--Sharon Kerr and Ann Entzel. They believed in me, built me up and helped me become the confident strong person I am today. They knew I was extraordinary and helped me see that in myself. Thank you.

Catherine McMahon's picture

Value Beyond the Classroom

Life does not always prepare our students for the realities they face when they enter the working world. My parents, socioeconomic status and the unfortunate experiences that I survived as a child did not show a bright future for me. Struggling to make grades, make money to support our family and constantly battling to fit in to a world that does not always accept "poor children," was exhausting. By the time I was in high school I was weary of the world. I had a councelor who actually told me that I was not "college" material and should explore factory or similar work. Then I got mad and decided that no one or anything would dictate my life. College was difficult but very rewarding. Mary Brock my councelor and professor taught me that being a teacher is more than dispelling information and providing assistance to get from point A to point B. She personally guided each of her students through their college life both educational and personal. She was always there for all of us. On graduation day she waited at a strategic position to greet each of her students as they exited the auditorium. I went on to get my Master's Degree with full honor. Mary taught me that you have to care about the student as much as the lesson.

Dana Villicano's picture

I have the best memories of high school lunches in the classroom of my favorite teacher (science) Mr. Van Dreal. He allowed us to come in and play chess, Pico-Ferme-Zilch, and many other games during his lunch time. I now realize how special that was for us as students, and how much he "gave up" for us. He didn't have to give his lunch time, yet he gave us so much more by doing so. I hope I am half the science teacher and mentor he was!

Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

I've been blessed to have several teachers impact my life over the years. However, none of them come close to first ever teacher: my grandmother, Rozelia Wiggins Cobb. She raised me and my two sisters. She taught me that there are people who actually love what they do. She was a special education teacher; an extraordinary, exceptional, remarkable, compassionate, caring educator. She loved her students and found the good in all of them. She made them feel special and loved and capable. By example, she taught me what type of person I wanted to be.

She left this word too soon, yet the lives that she touched will be forever changed. Her legacy will go on in the lives of those she taught; whether in the classroom, the neighborhood, the church, or our small town. I can only hope to be a fraction of the educator she was. Mama, I love you and appreciate all you've ever taught me. "Well done, thy good and faithful servant." Your living was certainly not in vain.

MB Scherer's picture

Thanks to my West Platte High School Counselor, Miss Babcock (AKA Mrs. Clemons). She was a force of nature, her job description was academic counselor. A more appropriate description was life counselor. She cared enough to help me hold my life together during my senior year. Academically, I was holding my own, on a personal level I was drowning. Her office was a sanctuary for me and countless other students who needed encouragement or simply a place to just be. She is a constant reminder to me, as an educator, to focus on the whole child. Because of her, I try to always look beyond the core subject areas to the core of each child to see if we are doing what we can to ensure success for each of our students.

Mrs. Pink Fish : )'s picture
Mrs. Pink Fish : )
Pre-service Elementary School Teacher

I'd like to thank all mentor teachers out there, but I'd especially like to give a special thanks to my mentor teacher, Mrs. DePasquale. It takes a great deal of energy, support, and compassion to mentor teach. Fact is, a pre-service teacher depends on them to guide them in the right direction. Mrs. DePasquale has been a positive role model as a teacher and has gone above and beyond her duties to ensure that I get the most out of my internship experience. I've learned so much from her, and I feel well prepared for a classroom of my own.

gglgrl's picture
Computer Applications instructor - 9-12 + Adult learners

I had the amazing good fortune to attend Tularcitos elementary school in Carmel Valley, in the late 60's. I remember Mrs. Venturelli's introductions to math theories, Mr. Reuter's shoebox science experiments, learning to play recorders (musical) in 2nd grade, and most especially my combined 4th/5th classroom experiences with Mr. Pomeroy. We studied ancient and modern history, learned where math theories came from and most of all got to learn Latin! I was blissfully ignorant to the richness of this course content at the time, but realize now, that this was a first turning point in my life. Those class times were the inspiration for my career in professional education. And I am proud to say that an inordinate amount of students who shared that classroom experience went on to become teachers themselves.
In my professional career, I have tried to emulate those grade-school teachers in instilling the sense of wonder and curiosity they inspired in me.

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