We asked our Teacher Advisory Council members to share how their own teachers have shaped their lives. In this post, read how these outstanding teachers were inspired by their former teachers.
Lisa Choate was my high school algebra teacher, and she has inspired me in so many ways. I was a student who always struggled with math, and Mrs. Choate was patient and supportive of me and believed that I could learn. Because she believed in me, I began to believe in myself. From her I learned the power of believing in students and the value of the process of learning. Today, she continues to give students the ability to believe in themselves, and I am privileged to work with her as a colleague in the very high school where I began this learning journey.
Throughout my years in school, I had excellent teachers who impacted me greatly. However, my junior year in high school I had two amazing teachers for a combined studies American history and American literature class. Mr. Steve Moore and Ms. Melinda Derrick were both so excited about the subjects they were teaching. It was that year that I feel I truly blossomed as a student. These two teachers challenged me to excel and reach my full potential, and I wanted to do my very best. It was this year, and because of their influence, that I decided I wanted to be a teacher.
When I was a senior in high school, my English teacher literally changed my world. Mrs. Joyce Helmick taught me how to write, and any writing of worth that I have done since then is due to her. She taught me to read widely and to think deeply about what I’d read. She taught me to organize my thoughts and use that to structure a well-written piece. Most of all, she taught me to always reach for more. I wrote to Paul Harvey once, in response to a very gracious broadcast he’d done, and when I took my work to her, she read it, slowly removed her glasses, looked at me, and said, “This is good.” I knew if she thought it was good . . . well, it was really good. To this day, any time I write, I’m always listening for that little voice that says, “This is good.” Because of her, my world has been more than I ever dreamed, and I’m forever grateful to her for that.
Mr. French, my high school calculus teacher, inspired me to study mathematics. Mr. French revealed the beauty of mathematics to me and how everything I had learned in previous courses fit together in such a nice and coherent way. He pushed me beyond my capabilities, which required me to learn how to think, reason, and persevere. Now, as a mathematics educator myself, Mr. French has inspired me to pass on a style of mathematics that is exciting, creative, and challenging.
Judy Roberts, my first grade teacher, continues to be one of my greatest inspirations. Her classroom was always full of love and creativity. In her classroom, she created a reading center from an old bath tub with pillows in it. It was awesome! I think of her all of the time when I am teaching. She encouraged students to be unique and recognized their individual gifts. She fostered growth in a variety of ways and met each student’s individual needs. She is still teaching at her own preschool and has been touching lives for fifty years. Mrs. Roberts is a great inspiration to all who know her.