Musings: Favorite Teachers

Today’s topic is: “National Teacher Appreciation Week. Do you have a teacher who inspired you?”

Through the years, I’ve had a handful of amazing teachers, several I can’t now recall, and at least one who I couldn’t stand.

The first teacher I remember was Mr. Gorham, fifth grade at Summer Street School in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. I have a strange assortment of memories about him. His mustachioed upper lip never moved when he talked. He always ate a single apple when he was on lunchroom duty. And he never, ever sat down (except on our field trip to Wheeler Mountain, where I nearly slipped off a rock ledge and he saved me. Hooray!)

Mrs. Cornell, Sixth grade

When I moved to Phoenix in 1987 for sixth grade, Mrs. Eleanor Cornell was lovely. She was very kind to me when several kids started bullying me for being skinny, younger, and smarter. I learned that being quiet in class made life easier, but it was a tough year.

But it was my seventh- and eighth-grade Honors teacher, Mr. Don Harris, who provided an environment where I was allowed to be myself again. It was also in his class that I made some of my best childhood friends (many of whom I’m still in contact with).

Mr. Doerge

In high school, I remember my physics teacher (Mr. Doerge, 1994) who made science seem really cool. (To be honest, I couldn’t remember how to spell his name, but I could picture his face even 20-some years later.)

In the three colleges I attended, I honestly can’t remember any of my professors, even though I must have had at least three dozen. But during my first (and only) year of dental school, I remember dreading going to the Medicine lecture because Dr. Ganda, with her strong Indian accent, thought that she had to yell to keep us awake (even though she was also wearing a microphone). Every day I left class stressed out because I had just been forcefully scolded by an angry woman for 90 minutes. Needless to say, stress and learning didn’t work well together and I left the program before my student loan debt became completely unmanageable.

In adulthood, I’ve come to realize that many of the most important teachers in my life weren’t at school. My older sister, my mother, my stepfather, long-time family friends, coworkers, and peers have all taught me remarkable things and made me into the woman that I am today.

So I’d like to end this Teacher Appreciation Week with an extra large THANK YOU to all the people who have helped me along the way. I truly appreciate everything you have taught me!

 

Who was your favorite teacher? Share in the comments.

~ Phoebe DeCook

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