George Lucas Educational Foundation

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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Phyllis Brodsky's picture
Phyllis Brodsky
Program Coordinator, Project FOCUS, University of Arizona

Over the years, I have asked teachers to reflect upon teachers from k-12 who have made a significant impact in their lives as educators. I always offer Mr. Harryman as my example. Beyond his expertise and passion for his content, he modeled a certain vulnerability, a certain "teachers are people, not perfect beings" in his willingness to admit his mistakes (not many). He made me love Shakespeare and Arthur Miller, and amidst a difficult time in my trouble young life, he made me excited to come to class everyday. And in the absence of parents who could direct my skills and talents forward into my future, Mr. Harryman helped me fill out college forms and enroll in our local community college my senior year. I have thought of him throughout my teaching career and although I've been unsuccessful in contacting him to thank him directly, I have always thanked him in my heart!

Mary MacVicar's picture

Mr. McCann was my wonderful high school English teacher who took time after class to help me with my writing skills. He made such an impact on all of his students by being so willing to go the extra mile. Thank you, Mr. McCann!


Mary MacVicar's picture

Thank you, Mr. McCann, for taking so much extra time with me and all of your students! You helped me with my writing skills 35 years ago. Now I make my living as a writer of student assessments. The gifts that teachers give just keep on giving and giving...

Thank you!

Bruce White's picture

I had a great visual arts teacher in high school. She inspired creativity and encouraged everyoen. I am a teacher now partly because of her. I once meet here at a conference and she had to introduce me to the audience. She dewscribe a different person to the crowd that I didn't realize that I showed.
I think of her often and how she helped me grow to my potential

Bruce White's picture

I have been a learning coordinator for five years before going back into the classroom. I have worked with may teachers who love to learn and enjoy sharing. Seeing a teacher get a concept that I was teaching and that WOW or Now I get it or I can see how I can use it in the classroom - keeps me doing more and more workshops.

Karen Chichester's picture

Many of my teachers have, sadly, passed on. I never got the chance to thank them personally, but I am going to do it here. All of the K-12 teachers taught in Kearsley Community Schools in Flint, MI. Thanks to:

Mrs. Joseph - 3rd grade - She gave me my love of reading.
Mr. Krohn - Junior High Science - He took me under his wing and inspired me to keep on trying new things.

Jerry Hall's picture
Jerry Hall
Founder and Executive Director of

I had a great teacher that came out of college in the early 70's and challenged our class with a statement of 'so what makes you believe there really was a man on the moon? Just because they say so?' That wasn't the usual lessons we learned for so long. Also, he was stunned, and ran me up to another teacher telling me to repeat something I said. I didn't know what he was talking about and he repeated that I answered his question of 'If women should drive' with a 'No, because that's the mans job' (or, something very similar). Truth was my mom (of 10 kids) didn't drive and I wasn't sure why there was such a shock to his system with that answer :) Little did I know. (by the way to this day my mom thanks me for helping her get on freeways as she was prone to stop at the end of the freeway on-ramps).

Fast forward today I'll put in a shameless plug for my nonprofit where I am thanking the dozens of teachers that led me and gave me the ability to use my own creativity to do good in the world. I invite you to visit and see if you can find a teacher to donate new, used or in-kind classroom sources to. Thanks!

Ron Shuali's picture
Ron Shuali
Keynote Speaker and Workshop Trainer at Shua Life Skills

The teacher I remember the most is Mr. Kevin McEvoy from East Brunswick High School in NJ. His philosophy was to learn, have fun and laugh through the class. He gave us the opportunity to choose to study our history for the first 3 days, then if we passed the quiz, he would spend an entire class telling us stories. I learned more history in his class than any other. And loved it.

Rick Plecha's picture
Rick Plecha
4th grade teacher

Thank you Mr. Zifko. Your interest in my inerests when I was a ten year old boy, your caring when I was in treatment, your patience when I was being a ten year old boy, set a high bar for me as I entered this noble profession 38 years ago.

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