Sunday, July 23, 2017

My Favorite Teacher

INGRID THOFT

Pencils and notebooks and binders.  That's what I recently stumbled upon in the "seasonal" aisle of my local Target.  Is it really back-to-school season already?  I imagine it can't come soon enough for some parents, but it was a walk down memory lane for me rather than a not-too-distant goal!  I thought about my school days:  dissecting a fetal pig in science class; pieces of pizza that resembled floor tiles; field hockey drills wearing pinnies; and my favorite teacher.

Her name is Mrs. Harder, and I don't think that it's a coincidence that my favorite teacher was my English teacher.  Kind, thoughtful, and energetic, Mrs. Harder was the highlight of my academic day, and she will always be bonded in my mind with Edith Wharton and Shakespeare.  She fed my love of reading, and she taught how to write, which has clearly served me well.  More than that, in her classroom there were always lively discussions about bigger, more complex issues, which suggested she thought we were up for the challenge of beginning to tackle the adult world.  She taught us about values and integrity and the power we all have to choose the kind of people we want to be.  Grammar, punctuation, imagery, and ethics:  It was all on the agenda in Mrs. Harder's classroom.


These days, she insists I call her Joanne, which I still can't quite get used to, and she's one of my most enthusiastic and loyal fans.  She attends my Boston-area events, and last fall, invited me back to speak to the student body at my alma mater.  I feel enormously grateful that she was my teacher all those years ago, but I'm also thrilled that these days she's my friend.

How about you, Reds?  Who was your favorite teacher?  Were you in touch after your school days?


LUCY BURDETTE: Ingrid, you are so lucky to have your favorite teacher morph to fan and friend! Probably like the rest of you, I adored school and going back to school. I think my fave was Mrs. Covey in fifth grade. She was warm and interesting and made school fun. The details are fuzzy, and here's a story that tells more about me than her. Report cards came out and I had nothing but A's. Except for one B, which must have been given by the gym teacher. But my best friend Lynn had an A in gym. I went sobbing to Mrs. Covey, and she changed it to an A:). 

In high school, we had the most wonderful drama and choral music teachers, Mr. Schneider and Mr. Dorhout. I had very modest (almost minimal) talent in both of those subjects, but I was in love with the community they built and the seriousness with which they taught us and their great good humor and dedication. I still remember the alto harmonies from the choral pieces we sang...such a gift!

HALLIE EPHRON: My favorite teacher was in sixth grade, Barbara Ann Schenkel at El Rodeo school in Beverly Hills. She was lively, interesting, and she encouraged me to think for myself and say what I thought. Maybe it was because of her that I decided to go to Barnard College (she was an alum) and become a teacher. Sadly, by the time I tried to reach out to her (I'd moved to the East coast, was teaching education courses at the college level, had started a family...) it was too late. She'd died of breast cancer.

So my advice to everyone about your favorite teachers, if you want to reach out and tell them so, don't wait.

JENN MCKINLAY: I did not love school. In fact, if it weren't for my English teacher, Mr. Taylor, my science teacher, Mr. Meehan, and my favorite teacher, Mrs. Bodwell, I probably would have cut school a heck of a lot more than I did. Mrs. B was the choir teacher at East Lyme High School in CT, and I was lucky enough to be in choir, select choir, and her specially chosen group of eight for a small ensemble choir, where we were invited to perform as backup singers for a Broadway recording and in a gospel church in New London to name just a few of Mrs. B's field trips. Pretty much any cool gig she could throw us into, she did, and it was awesome. She was an amazingly talented woman who performed as a soprano in operas at the Met, but what I remember most about her was that she always wore four inch heels (she was on the small side of petite), kept her blonde hair in a neat bob, and had the biggest grin when she was conducting us from the podium. The woman was a live wire, and it was contagious!

We recently reconnected through social media. She's retired and living in Vermont, while I am in AZ. She still sings, I do not, but we both have a passion for knitting. We've been sharing our knitting adventures, and it's like rediscovering our friendship all over again. During my turbulent teen years, she was definitely one of the few teachers who saw past my tough exterior to the creativity inside of me, looking for an outlet. She taught me to be poised and confident, to pursue my passion wholeheartedly, and to push through failure and try, try, and try again until I got it right. I owe her so very much.


RHYS BOWEN: Like Jenn I did not adore school! I was very smart, always at the top of my class, but I was at an all girls school, and most of my teachers were close to retirement age--mean-spirited old spinsters who loved to criticize and inflict punishments. In sewing class, the teacher would walk around with a ruler and if our hands moved to the wrong position beside the sewing machine THWACK came the ruler over our knuckles!  I did like my music teacher and was also in the choir. We had a lovely young history teacher, but she got married and left. Great weeping and wailing. I didn't particularly like my sixth form English teacher, Miss Willis, but she helped to make me the writer I am. She challenged. She also mocked, I'm afraid, but she set creative assignments and a friend and I took those challenges, which resulted in my winning the English prize, editing the school magazine and being invited to tea with Arnot Robertson, a famous novelist, when she visited the school.

Oh, but college was a different matter.  I had some wonderful professors, especially for my thesis. She never taught. She would throw out seemingly unrelated questions, and then suddenly light would dawn, and we'd see the connection and go "Oh!". She wanted me to stay on and do my PhD, but I got lured away by the BBC. 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Have you ever heard of a high school where the English teacher created a club, called The Hastings Club, and encouraged all his students to wear black armbands on the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings to mourn the defeat of the Anglo-Saxons by the Normans? I am thrilled to have a chance to once again honor the name of the fabulous Thomas Thornburg. I was just at my high school's 50th reunion, as you know, and every single person there mentioned how much Mr. Thornburg had changed their life. (He probably would have mentioned that my pronouns do not agree in the previous sentence.)

He was hilarious, and, hoping he doesn't read this, so incredibly cute, and brilliant--and I mean brilliant. He let us all love Shakespeare and Spenser and F Scott Fitzgerald and writing and poetry and the power of our own language and imagination. 

He was incredibly tough grading papers. He had a rubber stamp with the word GUG on it, which he would stamp on our papers when something was so indescribably terrible that he couldn't even manage to explain why it was so terrible.

I would not be where I am today (wherever that is) without him, and I have to say that so many people at the reunion said just the same thing.
The good news is he lives in Montana, and his wife and I are Facebook friends, and how cool is that? (I still imagine him looking just like this photo. And that's me and good pal Susan Palmer in the Hastings Club yearbook photo.)
I have used his name as a character in several of my books, just in honor of him...the books would not exist without him, you know?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: School was not a great experience for me once I hit middle-school, although I did have a very good and encouraging English teacher in tenth grade. But in elementary school, my best friend and I had the same teacher in third and sixth grade, Miss Schwann. I can't imagine what either of us would be like today without her. She was a wonderful teacher, kind and demanding and funny. She always let you know she had expectations, and you had better live up to them. She loved reading, and the half hour when she would read aloud to us was the high point at the end of every day. In sixth grade, she read us A WRINKLE IN TIME, and it was such an experience it has stuck with me ever since. I was a good reader before her classes, and a great (and addicted) reader after.




Here's the "Wrinkle" cover from my youth.  It cost $1.25!  

Tell us readers, who were your favorite teachers?  Do you stay in touch with them?



62 comments:

  1. Actually, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Sutherland, was my favorite teacher. Later, I would appreciate the classes of a couple of science teachers and an English teacher or two. But it was Mrs. Sutherland who let me get as many books as I wanted from the library, who never scolded me for reading at recess time, and who always had a minute to listen to me chatter away about the books I loved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely sounds like Mrs. Sutherland was my kind of teacher, Joan!

      Delete
  2. I have several favorite teachers, whom I loved for different reasons. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Mains, was a young woman just out of college, and she was my first experience with a young, breath-of-fresh-air teacher. All the other teachers in my elementary school were older. She was my first teacher who truly loved her students, and we all loved her back. My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Collins, was the the storyteller teacher, who never met a bus with a flat tire that she couldn't defeat with a funny story. She also was the first teacher to recognize my love of reading and my skill at it. Then, in junior high, there was Mrs. Folley, my seventh grade English teacher, who is the reason I fell in love with English and became an English teacher. Also in junior high was Miss Howard, the home economics teacher who made me believe in myself as someone capable of doing hands-on accomplishments, that I was more than just someone who did well in school. In high school, the two teachers who made the biggest difference were my speech teacher, who encouraged my participation in speech events and is probably responsible for me being comfortable speaking in front of a group, and there was Mr. Rice, my senior English/Creative Writing teacher who showed us that as seniors we had a lot to learn about writing, and he taught much of that. And, I saved the librarian who made a difference for last. In elementary school our librarian was Miss Donna Root, and she made the library a welcoming, magical place. She was the other young teacher at our school, and she was my inspiration for finally earning my Masters in Library Science. All in all, I had great teachers and loved school. In college, I can't really think of one professor that had as profound an effect on me as those early teachers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were lucky to have so many wonderful teachers, Kathy!

      Delete
    2. I do feel lucky. I think because it was a small community, there were closer connections, too.

      Delete
  3. I don't know that I can pick out a singular teacher as a particular favorite. Like Rhys and Jenn, I did not enjoy school. It was something to get through for me, that's about it.

    I had moments with teachers that made me like them or to be honest made me despise them. I don't run into many of my former teachers these days. However, my 12th grade English teacher is someone I see around town every so often. Usually at the post office. We have a quick friendly chat but that's about it.

    However, there was one moment that I found pretty cool recently. Hank came to my town library for a talk a couple months back. When she was set to begin speaking, she first made mention of how nice it was to see a couple of familiar faces. She then said, "Jay Roberts, a very good book reviewer..."

    I wasn't expecting her to single me out like that and found it a nice thing, but even nicer was that the English teacher was in the back of the room and heard Hank say that. Made the moment even sweeter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Jay that is so lovely! Awwww. I don't wonderful story! So pleased…

      And yeah, high school was pretty horrible for me, too. I understand it was formative,though,! so I embrace it. Xxx

      Delete
    2. Hank, glad you liked it. I was floored and then pleased because I knew she was in the back of the room.

      Also, I had a sophomore year English teacher, Ms. Ledwell, that used one of the papers I wrote as an example of how to write an essay with her other higher level courses.

      Delete
    3. What a great moment, Jay! Not surprising at all, of course, that Hank would be so generous and gracious!

      Delete
    4. Awww, you two please, go on as if I'm not listening to every word..xoxo

      Delete
  4. Do you think people who are not so immersed in the reading- writing world the the way we are would remember other kinds of teachers, not English teachers? Like on an engineering blog, would they talk about science teachers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They probably would talk about their science teachers on an engineering blog. I had a social studies teacher that I liked a bit. But the English teachers were probably the ones that I would remember the most. I stunk at all the more complicated math subjects so that wouldn't have been a group of teachers I would remember fondly no matter what.

      Well, except for the math teacher who taught me the only thing I can remember in the French language...how to say I can't speak French. HA!

      But then there was the one English teacher (that I didn't even have for a class) that I loathed with a depth heretofore unknown. She made me despise everything about education during my senior year with her actions towards me. That's okay though, I got even.

      Delete
    2. That sounds like a book, Jay...

      Delete
    3. Ingrid, probably not that good of a book though. It was a subtle way of getting even (I have a hard time forgiving and forgetting, I remember and hold a grudge), not an outlandish revenge plot.

      Although, I did experience something this weekend that gave me the idea of an opening scene for a story...if I had any clue as to how to write it up, and had a full story to go with it.

      Delete
    4. It always starts with an idea, Jay!

      Delete
    5. This is very true, I'm just not sure exactly where I would go with the idea.

      Delete
  5. Like Kathy Reel, I loved school and had great teachers along the way--Mrs. Hill in 6th grade let me soar--I wrote plays, started French, studied ancient cultures and anthropology; Mrs. McGuckin was my junior high English teacher and she challenged me to be a better reader, a director, and made English my favorite subject. Mr. Kile was my high school English teacher--he was also the wrestling coach, but he made time for me outside of class to read and critique my poems. College English--Mr. Smith was also my advisor. Recently he did me the honor of calling me 'one of the finest students he ever had'! Wow! Okay, it was a little thick, but he wanted me to help edit the fiction/poetry published by Bottom Dog Press, the small press he runs. And there were great professors in my field of anthropology/archaeology--especially in graduate school--Dr. Sumner, Dr. Bourguignon, Dr. Sciulli, and Dr. Dancey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the detail that it was a wrestling coach critiquing your poetry!

      Delete
    2. It's very cool learning what subjects the Red readers studied. Archeology, Flora? What drew you to that?

      Delete
  6. I went to a very small school, with only 53 in my graduating class. There were two teachers who made the difference in my world, Irene Smith, speech and drama and journalism, and Bill Bunge, the principal. Only four of the 53 were college bound, and two of us were girls. Both Mrs. Smith and Mr. Bunge knew that the curriculum in a country school was far from college prep, so they took Sandy Mack and me on. I'm not sure what happened with the boys. We were assigned reading, which was no big deal as we were both voracious readers, but so far I hadn't read Laurence Sterne or Marcus Aurelius or Sigrid Unset.

    And every single week we had to write a paper. This was way before I had a typewriter at home, so these papers were all in long hand, footnotes and bibliography, APA format, researched as best we could with the limited resources. One of mine was on the Battle of Lexington, and I went to our local doctor's library. He was a civil war enthusiast and gave me unlimited access to his books.

    By the time I got to college, writing a paper was something I spent no more time worrying about than doing my laundry, less even. I was grateful then and now.

    They are both dead for decades, yet I find myself thinking about them often. Their influence was far reaching. I read Kipling to my babies from the start, and they are all readers, can all write a declarative sentence, more than I can say about most people today. Present company excluded of course (insert appropriate emoji here)

    It is interesting that almost all of you say English was your favorite class/teacher. I was way more interested in science and math, such as it was back in the days of the abacus. I loved English and American literature, but the rest? Not at all intrigued. Although I do say all those hours spent diagramming sentences paid off in the end. Guess it did for you too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Ann, there was nothing more loathsome to me than diagramming sentences:). So I was horrified when our Spanish teacher this past winter turned out to be a diagram fanatic!

      Delete
    2. But Lucy Roberta, you do know how to construct a sentence now.

      Delete
    3. Lucy, you had to diagram in Spanish? Did it help your language acquisition?

      Delete
    4. I agree, Ann, that learning to write a solid paper is critical to future schooling, and also work. All kinds of work! No one wants a nurse who can't communicate clearly!

      Delete
  7. Jenn, I had a Mr. Taylor as an English teacher, too!

    Like some of you, I did not enjoy school, although I was a good student. I got along with most of my teachers (there were a couple math teachers I wish I could forget); it was the other students who really ruined school for me as I wasn't even close to popular.

    My favorites: The aforementioned Mr. Taylor, who was my 12th grade AP English teacher. He wanted to be called "Brother Taylor" and we were all "sister/brother " instead of first name, unless it was a one-on-one. He had a metal file cabinet he used to bang. This served two purposes: making a point and waking people up. He's responsible for my love of Shakespeare. We had to memorize the "to be or not to be" soliloquy from HAMLET and perform it for him. Not recite, PERFORM. Fortunately, he did this in private sessions, so we wouldn't be mocked in front of the class. I remember I didn't do the summer reading before that year. I'd always done well in English class and I figured I didn't need to. Wrong. My grade that quarter was horrible and I considered dropping the class. Brother Taylor took me aside and told me in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to do that. I had a 25 point rebound the next quarter. He told me at the end of the year it was the biggest turnaround he'd ever seen.

    My other favorite was my AP Chemistry teacher, Mr. Eggleston. I needed one more science class and I liked him for my previous chemistry class, so I figured I'd apply for AP. He was so funny and had the best way of explaining concepts. The math was so hard though - practically indecipherable. At the end of the year, I discovered I hadn't fulfilled the prerequisites of the class (thus the indecipherable math). I told him and how I wasn't good enough for the math part and he said, "Nonsense. You've got the second highest average in this class and you're my best lab student. Of course you can do math. Anyone who told you otherwise is wrong. You can do anything you put your mind to."

    I am not in touch with either, although I did visit them after graduation (I even observed one of Mr. Taylor's classes for an education course in college) and told them how much their teaching had meant to me.

    Mary/Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical when you mentioned performing the soliloquy for your teacher in private. I think I've watched too many "Datelines"!

      Delete
    2. Heh, it was in an office where other teachers kept going in and out. Just not my fellow students. =)

      Mary/Liz

      Delete
  8. I had a wonderful 9th Grade English teacher named Mrs. Barker. She put Les Miserables in my hands and told me I needed to read books that challenged me. I've tried to do that ever since. I moved away from home long ago, so never kept in touch, but a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see her when I was visiting my folks. She'd helped to put together a town museum, and she happened to be there when my brother and I went to tour it. She was very frail, but she remembered me, and I was able to tell her that she had a great influence on my life. She passed away this spring, so I am doubly glad I had the chance to thank her in person.

    re: A Wrinkle in Time. I once had the opportunity to hear Madeleine L'Engle give a talk. She'd just had knee surgery, so she hobbled to the stage in obvious pain, but she was so warm and amusing and charming. I may have that same cover of Wrinkle in Time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so nice you had the chance to see Mrs. Barker again and what great advice she gave you. I find it hard to choose books that challenge me; so often, I just want to read something that I know will be satisfying. Do you still try to follow her advice, Ramona?

      Delete
  9. Love all of the stories. I was fortunate to have several wonderful teachers. I had a wonderful 6th grade teacher whom I stay in touch with and she insists that I call her Leslie now that I am a grown up. She introduced me to mystery novels. She took our class to the city public library because our school was in the midst of moving. Even though I did well academically in school, I did not really like school. Having a good teacher made school more bearable for me.

    In college, I had several wonderful professors.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you able to call her Leslie without cringing? I always feel I'm being sassy when I say Joanne!

      Delete
  10. Let's hear it for the sciences! My high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Newman, was pretty great. It's amazing how much chemistry I remember, not to mention the cute guy who was my lab partner. And on the English side, Mr. Gelms who was the school paper adviser. Tough but fair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had teachers I really liked in other disciplines, but they would never be my favorite if I didn't enjoy the subject matter. Chemistry was the bane of my existence in high school. The only way I would have enjoyed it is perhaps if George Clooney had taught it!

      Delete
  11. OMG, Hank! The Hastings Club! When I was in the seventh grade my older sister, an avid English history buff, somehow came across the Hastings Club. I knitted black arm bands for both of us, and we wore them to school on October 14--much to the dismay and suspicion of our rural Missouri teachers. I wouldn't be surprised to dig into a dresser drawer and find mine still lurking in the back somewhere.

    And that is pretty typical of my school experience. I was a straight-A student and the daughter of teachers, so I was more likely to view my own teachers as real people, rather than teaching robots. I liked the ones who challenged me, and frequently defied the ones who wanted me to sit quietly in a tidy little box with the rest of the class. I read widely outside the assigned curriculum, got in the habit of forming my own opinions early and, as a result, often bounced between being the teacher's pet and a problem child.

    My favorite teachers were the ones who gave me room to do my own thing, like Miss Miller, in the first grade, who suggested I skip up to the second grade since I was well ahead of the rest of the class. (This didn't go over well with the second grade teacher, who was much more rigid.) I was pretty much in open rebellion through junior high, but in high school Miss Grant, my English teacher, introduced me to wonderful poetry, and Mr. Michaelson, the biology teacher, let me read in class after I finished my lab assignments, not caring if it was Shakespeare or Agatha Christie.

    The only teacher I ever wrote a thank-you note to, however, was Dr. Bernice Warren, my freshman composition teacher in college. She was the first person to tell me that I wrote well enough to be a professional writer some day, so I'd better get serious and pay more attention to details like spelling and punctuation. I remember leaving that class dazzled, and spending a good hour turning over this shiny new jewel of an idea that people might actually pay me to put words on paper--something they started doing in 1982, with no end in sight. When I got my job at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I wrote Dr. Warren a thank you letter. She took it to my father--a colleague of hers on campus--to tell him how much it meant to her.

    I'm not in touch with any of them now. Most are probably gone, but I think I'll see if I can find Miss Grant on Facebook. I hope she's still as cool as ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing how much of an impact one person can have with a few thoughtful words. Thank goodness for Dr. Warren.

      Delete
  12. Ingrid, your email blocks mine, as does your FB message, so I can't send you my address for the book I've won. I would , however, really like it if you can come up with a solution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will, Reine. I'm working on it!

      Delete
    2. Reine, can you try sending the info to info@ingridthoft.com? Thanks!

      Delete
    3. Ingrid, thank you. I tried yesterday but will try again, now.

      Delete
    4. It seems to have gone throughI haven't received a mailer-daemon yet, and I'm hoping that means you received it! Thank you.

      Delete
  13. So many wonderful teachers in the world, bless them. When I taught sewing and later adult ed, only 14-17 hours a week, I came to appreciate the sheer physical challenge of being on my feet, trying to get concepts from my brain into other brains. Some of which were resistant to those concepts. It was exhausting, and I can't imagine doing it full-time for decades on end.

    I loved school, and read all my textbooks the first week of the year. Then I'd be bored, and must have posed an issue for some of my teachers. My lovely second grade teacher handled it by sending me to the library for part of the day, where I'd read everything I could. Later, though, as our home life deteriorated and survival was the main focus of our lives, I think my school life and school work just got lost in the shuffle.

    My least favorite subject was history, which I've always felt should be taught linearly, and globally--all the world events that happened at the same time integrated together. Turns out, that's how the Waldorf schools teach, with a linear history curriculum at the core. I think I would have done well in such a program. However, in high school (1967) we had a wonderful history teacher, Ron Blankenbeuhler, who also happened to be the theater director. His flair for drama spilled over into his teaching, and he made that year's history focus come alive for me. I was also involved in backstage work for the theater, and he gave me an offstage speaking part, my only theater experience.

    Our Catholic high school was in its first year, my sophomore one, combining the girls' school and the boys' school in one new building. For a time most of our classes were segregated by gender, so when I was in Mr. B's class it was an all-girl roster. He must have also had a Hastings Club, but only the boys were in it, because he staged a Battle of Hastings out on the grounds. None of the girls were involved.

    A quirky tidbit: when Hamilton the musical began getting nominations for Tony awards I noticed that the choreographer was named Andy Blankenbeuhler. After doing a lot of Google research I realized he was our very own Mr. B's son. I don't know when Mr. B moved from Hamilton, Ohio (where I grew up) to thirty miles away to Cincinnati, but up until a couple of years ago he was still teaching at a Catholic girls' school here, as well as directing their theater program. And also a favorite teacher there for decades. Who knew?

    My Home Economics teacher was also hugely influential. I'd wanted to learn to sew properly since I was eight, and my biggest goal in life was to be a sophomore so I could take Home Ec. The first semester was cooking, to my great disappointment, but I dealt with it. Sister Agnes Julie praised my sewing, and encouraged me when I chose really difficult projects. And aced them. I later heard that she left the convent, to marry a priest who was also one of my favorite teachers (English and Religion). But I'm not sure if she's the one he married or some other nun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the idea of that approach to teaching history. Context is always a good thing!

      Delete
  14. My favorite teacher in high school was Mrs. Maland who often walked home with me most of the way and talked until we got to her house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reine, that is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

      Delete
    2. Sweet! My eighth grade English teacher taught half days, the "accelerated" classes, and did district publicity the rest of the time. I used to quote her writing suggestions to my own students. She had a party at her home near the end of the year to celebrate a year of learning, an event much looked forward to by all . . . also the first time I saw an electric typewriter. Coveted that <3

      Delete
  15. My first grade teacher is my sister-in-law's step-mother. Small world indeed, but obviously I'm in touch with her. My senior English teacher is in a Bible study with my parents, so I see him occasionally as well.

    But I was home schooled 4th through 10th grades, so I'm definitely still in touch with that teacher - my mom. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting, Mark! Did you enjoy being home schooled or feel like you were missing out?

      Delete
    2. I did enjoy it. For one thing, it allowed me more time to read, something that has stuck with me, obviously.

      Delete
  16. Miss Jean Miller was my sophomore high school teacher. She insisted I call her Jean, since she wasn't ten years older than us, but I can't so I invoke the whole title. I sent her the first two anthologies I got into this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you on that, Keenan. I really struggle to call Mrs. Harder, Joanne, even these days!

      Delete
  17. What great stories! I wish I had more teachers to add to my list. College, now, when I eventually got to the one that worked (Yay, Austin College!) I could come up with a great list! Some of those professors I still keep up with (my chemistry prof came to my last book signing here in McKinney) but, alas, two of my very favorites are gone. Howard McCarley, who was my mentor and a huge inspiration, and Jack Pierce, who was not that much older than me and grew to be a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Actually, I wrote 2 blog posts about my favorite teacher, my high school English teacher from both junior & senior year, Larry Zimmer. My sisters & I all had him, and we're not the only ones from our high school who said he was the best teacher we ever had. Considering we have six degrees between the three of us, that's a lot of teachers who lost out to him. I wrote one post as a thank you, and he read it, and the second post when he died. Some of his family members and former students read that one. I knew him as a student, and when I was library director in my hometown, and he told me to call him Larry. He did a lot to make me the person I am today. Here is the link to that thank you post - http://bit.ly/2tTVeHg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an amazing tribute, Lesa. Mr. Zimmer sounds like he was a truly gifted teacher.

      Delete
  19. I had a wonderful English teacher in high school named Mrs. Barrett, and was blessed enough to have her for two years. She taught me how to write a cohesive paper, and basically, just how to write. I also had an awesome government teacher, Mr. Hanscomb, who played the album (that dates me!) of 1776 in class and sung and acted out all the parts. He made a very dry subject come to life, and always told me to reach for the stars ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting to read about how many of the favorite teachers were performers in the classroom. Staid teachers didn't make the list!

      Delete
  20. I'm amazed that so many people remember the names of their teachers! I don't remember the name of any teacher, grade school, high school, college including grad school. Not a single one. I can visualize a very few, standing in front of the classroom, but names? No.

    I'm also amazed at the range of schools and facilities described. There wasn't a school library until I got to college. We used the city library. So there was no friendly librarian to help. I think there was some kind of music class, but I remember no choir. There was a speech class, but it was focused on debate, rather than public speaking. To be fair, it was a fairly new school district, and a brand new high school. Maybe some of those things came later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you remember how many students were in your school, Rick? Was it small since it was so new?

      Delete
  21. Hank Phillippi Ryan ~ Ha ha! He did read it... with one eye, because he's just had cataract surgery on the other one. He said, "Well, there they are. Those two!" He was very touched. (He's still pretty cute, too.)

    ReplyDelete