Unforgettable teachers inspire in many ways. They can make an average student become an overachiever. They can make a gifted student push beyond even the highest expectations. An inspiring teacher can launch a lifelong interest in history, science, literature and sports. Perhaps one of the greatest achievements a teacher can do is inspire someone in the next generation to become a teacher. Here are tributes from educators about the educators who inspired them to become teachers.
My second-grade teacher. I have kept in touch with her since I was in her class and she is amazing. She was not only supportive, but always told me that I would do great things one day. She would teach us that no matter what job we chose, we could make a difference. It takes hard work and a positive attitude. She was such an inspiration.
My ninth-grade science teacher. She made learning fun. She took time with us and wanted us to do something special in life. She was incredible and fought through a difficult life because she was disabled. That meant a lot to me. It inspired me.
Joyce and Dean Angel
My grandmother. She was a teacher before certification was required. While in her 50s, she enrolled in college to receive her certification because the law had changed. Our county’s school board paid for her tuition because she was such a great teacher that they wanted to keep her in the system. She has been the inspiration for a lot of teachers in our district, past and present.
Deanne McGaffin Sulla
I come from a family of teachers. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but it was a connection with a special person that made me want to teach special education. I babysat regularly as a teenager. I loved playing with and teaching the kids I babysat. There was a special family who I had the privilege to sit for; they had two girls. The younger girl was a typically developing 10-year-old. It was her sister who inspired me. The older daughter was profoundly disabled. She was unable to sit, eat, talk or communicate in anyway. She was usually lying on the floor on a blanket when I was there.
Our connection was unique because she was my age. We were both 15. But not only were we the same age, we were born on the same day in the same year and we had the same first name. She was my first real experience with a child who had significant disabilities and this was in 1979, when special education was brand new. I became a special-education teacher and have been my entire career, and most of that time has been spent with children with multiple disabilities.
Amanda Green Koch
My sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Calvin Lee. I went to a high school that tracked us, and because I was from a very poor family, college was never discussed with me. However, I always remembered the charismatic teacher I had in the sixth grade who told us a story about how he didn’t go to college until he was in his mid-30s and that it was never too late. I always remembered that and I wanted to be able to have an impact on students who came from situations similar to my own and instill in them the ability to do anything, regardless of their current circumstances. Thank you, Mr. Lee!
Mary Jane Coward
My mom inspired me to teach. Not only did she teach me in fifth grade, but every other day of my life. She taught for 40 years. I am on my 38th.
My sophomore biology teacher, Sister Carmen Joy, was the most wonderful teacher in the world. She was truly ahead of her time. She believed in students learning through discovery and demanded we go beyond just the average work to get an A. I read everything, including encyclopedias, and this was well before computers, to learn all I could to gain that edge. At the end of the year, she pushed me to go on and study chemistry for college majors. I have taught for 26 years because of her faith in me.
Tags: Leader Spotlight