Wicked Wednesday: Thankful for Our Teachers

Hi, Wickeds. During the month of November we use our Wicked Wednesdays to talk about things we’re grateful for. My question for you all today. Is there a teacher or are there a few teachers in elementary school to grad school you’d like to say a few words about? Let’s hear it.

Edith: Ed Aguirre taught sixth grade and organized a trip for our class to visit Baja California (a three-hour drive south for us) for a week. It topped off a year of studying Spanish, Mexican culture, geography, and so much more. He was way ahead of his times in creating this kind of cross-discipline study. Mr. Aguirre put up with my goofy, over-assertive eleven-year-old self and encouraged me to keep learning and exploring. And now…we’re Facebook friends! Much later, my tech writing teacher Lis Strenger taught me to write sparse, clear text – and made it fun, too.

Liz: I had some amazing grad school teachers, some of whom I keep in touch with also. Jeff Seglin, who taught me all things publishing, and Jessica Treadway, who taught me how to write a novel (and some of it stuck!) Those were some of my favorite years.

Julie: Ms. Holbrook was my reading teacher in elementary school, and she was wonderful. Mr. Hathaway was another great reading teacher. Mr. Shriner was a high school history teacher I enjoyed. I’ve been really blessed to have had a number of great teachers, but these three stand out.

Sherry: I had a lot of wonderful teachers, but I have to thank Mrs. Kibbie my third grade teacher. I left first grade in the top reading group, but by the end of second grade was at the very bottom and I didn’t like to read. (My second grade teacher was a nightmare.) Mrs. Kibbie sent home extra reading for me to do. My love of reading came back and I was saved.

Barb: I was lucky in my young life to have a lot of great teachers. The one I want to thank today is the late Anthony Garvin who taught me American Civilization my first year at the University of Pennsylvania. Garvin was a brilliant teacher. Every lecture was interesting and entertaining, but it wasn’t until I put my pen down having filled my last blue book in the final that I realized what the course was about. It answered the question, “Who is an American?” “What makes us Americans?” In these days of caravans and travel bans, I think back to it so often. That course truly shaped the person I am.

Jessie: I was lucky to attend a school system for middle and high school that valued creative writing. In middle school one of my English teachers, Mrs. Rief, made me feel I really had aptitude in that area. When I reached high school Mr. Tappan did the same. Both of these teachers had a hand in the writer I have become and I feel very blessed because of their presence in my early years.

Readers, do you have a teacher or early mentor that was a help to you? Leave a comment for a chance to win two paperback copies of Murder in an English Village; one for you and one for someone you would like to treat!

43 Thoughts

  1. I loved every one of my teachers! My kindergarten teacher, Mrs Scarbro, actually also became my oldest daughter’s kindergarten teacher! I was very shy and quiet in school, which was hard when it came to group projects. I normally did all the work while others chatted.
    I never had the chance to go to college or university. Not that I didn’t have dreams of going. Is 58 to old??

    1. Absolutely not too late! If you want to go, GO! You’ll love it and what it does for your self-esteem. And you’ll learn a lot along the way!

    2. Oh, my goodness NO, NO, NO!

      I did go to college right out of high school, but had to drop out midway through my senior year. Much later in life, I’d been laid off a job, but had been given some stock options that had exploded in value. Faced with the task for applying for a job in a field where a bachelor’s degree was absolutely expected, I decided to cash in and go back to school and finish my degree.

      It was the best decision I ever made. Let me tell you that you have a vastly greater appreciation for the wonderful and mind-expanding experience that college is in your mid-30’s than you ever could at 20. And I’m sure that at 58, you’ll bring even more maturity with you, something I promise you’ll see immediately as you watch your callow fellow students who don’t yet understand what an incredible opportunity it is to spend the day learning new things.

      Deb, if there’s any way in the world, please do it! And if you’re worried that you’ll feel out of place among the children, I suspect it’s likely you won’t be the only mature adult in your classes.

  2. M.Villeret was my French teacher in high school and had led a varied life before taking that position, including some time as a hobo during the Depression.

  3. Sarah Scattergood was my fourth-grade teacher at Springside School in Philadelphia. My mother wasn’t happy with the school I’d attended in the suburbs for four years, so she transferred me (and three of my classmates followed). Mrs. Scattergood was a truly creative teacher: we dubbed our classroom the S. S. Meowell, and I was in charge of making signal flags which hung across the ceiling (I learned how to use a treadle sewing machine for the project). Once there was a day when we were going on a field trip, leaving early in the morning. Since my family lived a ways out of town, I couldn’t be there on time, so Mrs. Scattergood let me spend the night at her house so I wouldn’t miss it. We also read the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I got to send a fan letter to her on behalf of the class. (No one mentioned that she’d passed away a couple of years earlier, but her franchise lived on.) It was a truly memorable year (and then we moved to another state the next year).

  4. When I was in college (Juanita College) Dr. Philbrook Smith was my English history prof, and while I had always liked history, he made it come alive to me. He used to walk into class with his notes, put them on his desk, and then never looked at them as he talked about medieval English people like they were his next door neighbors. He made me see historic figures as real people, with all their faults and their brilliance. It was largely due to him that I became a history teacher.

  5. My fifth grade math teacher really helped me lick math. Later in life I also applied his philosophy in a lot of other situations. It was slow down, think it out, figure it out and come to an answer that leaves you no doubt.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. My chemistry teacher, Mr. Eggleston. I opted for a science/English track in high school. English was easy. At the end of my sophomore year, I needed to pick a chemistry class. I didn’t want to do physics because I was so bad at math (just ask all my junior high math teachers). I just finished Regents chemistry (I suppose that would be the 80s equivalent of honors chemistry) and loved Mr. Eggleson, so I decided to take AP Chemistry – figured there would be less math than physics. The joke was on me and I labored through AP Chem, but still did well and had a great time.

    At the end of the year, when I was looking at classes for my senior year, I noticed two of the pre-requisites for AP Chem were trignometry and pre-calc. No wonder the math was so strange – I never did those. I pointed this out to Mr. Egglesone and said, “I never should have been in AP Chem, why did you approve my application? I don’t belong here.”

    He pointed out that I was his best lab student and had the second-highest average in the class. “I don’t know who told you that you can’t do math. You can do it. You can to anything you want to. Who cares if it takes you twice as long? That just means you don’t make the stupid mistakes other people make because they’re rushing.”

    He’s long retired, but if I ever see him again, I’ll be sure to tell him the impact he had on me.

  7. I had a lot of really good teachers and a few great ones. The one who made the biggest impact on my life was Mr. DeYoung. He was a great HS English teacher, but he also introduced me to speaking on the radio (he was a former disc jockey). Because of this, I met my much-into-the-future husband (who was in radio for 50 years before retiring). We’ve been together for 45 years! Thanks, Mr. DeYoung!

  8. I was home schooled 4th through 10th grade, and I’m very thankful for the time and energy Mom poured into it. (And I’m not just saying that.) she really did a lot of work, and she allowed me lots of time to read. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her hard work.

    And in a fun twist, my first grade teacher has become my brither’s mother-in-law, so I see her whenever I am visiting family.

  9. I loved my 11th grade Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, she was also my Spanish teacher for two years. She was always so nice and very encouraging to everyone. I remember one time we had to write a folklore story of our own…it was such fun in there. Renee

  10. I’ve had so many wonderful and inspirational teachers, but I guess the one I remember best was Mr. Nelson, my eighth-grade Junior High English teacher. We didn’t begin well. On the first essay I submitted, he gave me a C. I was outraged; I’d never in my life received anything less than an A in English. (I had a teacher-grandmother who had me reading and writing before I could talk, but that’s another story.)

    It wasn’t until much later in the semester, after we’d become friends (and I’d gotten a string of A’s from him) that I asked him to re-read my first essay and explain why he gave me a C. I could see the grimace on his face as he began to re-read. (I’m pretty sure he was expecting to have to say unpleasant things to me, and he wasn’t looking forward to it.)

    As he read the paper, I watched the expression on his face change from resignation to surprise. “Lee, this is FUNNY!” he shouted. Apparently, it hadn’t occurred to him – at least before he’d encountered my sense of humor – that anyone would submit a humorous essay. He changed the grade to an A on the spot.

    Mr. Nelson was also an actor. That semester, he was chosen to play the title role in a University of California, Davis production of Othello. I remember him doing the, “It is the cause, the cause my soul …” speech in class for us. And seeing his fury onstage as he strangled Desdemona was almost frightening, so entirely different from the nurturing mentor he was himself.

    Later, when I was in high school, I won a prestigious national English award, and he sent me the most wonderful congratulatory letter, letting me know how proud he was of me. Frankly, I was more thrilled by the letter than I was by the award (and I was plenty thrilled by the award). I resolved to go over to his house and have a visit. Unfortunately, I never got the chance because he died of a massive heart attack the next day. I got another letter from his wife the day after he died, letting me know and telling me again how proud he was of me.

    I still have both of those letters, and they’re among my most precious mementos.

    A toast to all teachers. They are massively underpaid (IMHO), and daily work miracles on the next generation.

  11. My 10th grade English teacher. There were a number of unique ways that she made the lessons fun & educational. When we were studying poetry, she turned the classroom into an “open mike night” at a coffeehouse with coffee, tea, & treats.

  12. I had an excellent English teacher in 9th grade that helped me with grammar without diagramming. But many more helpful librarians who helped my love for reading.

  13. Yes, I am thankful for my Great-Aunt Gladys who was an outstanding educator in the 1930s. When I was having trouble in the fifth grade she told my Mother to let her read. I went from failing to outstanding after a summer of reading. I didn’t know it until I graduated from high school when my homeroom teacher told she was a good friend of my Aunt. At that time I realized that she k we about my progress.

  14. My teachers were the most important in learning to read, but my mother, father and brothers also helped to teach me to read.

  15. Being a retired teacher myself, a number of times through those middle school classroom years, I was so surprised and touched when former students made a point of coming back to personally tell me about the direct impact I had made in their adult lives.

  16. I would love to be remembered fondly by some of my students! I was an elementary school special education teacher for 30 years! I remember my 4th grade teacher and I ended up working with her! She went from being Mrs. Woodrum to being Betty! Now my son is an elementary school English teacher. I’m very proud of him!

  17. My third grade teacher taught me the love of reading novels. She introduced me to The Little House series. I’ve been reading ever since.

  18. I had a teacher who called me a walking Home Ec encyclopedia. It’s easy to remember the ones who say something nice about you.

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