Teacher Appreciation Week—the first full week of May—was established by the National PTA in 1984. I think we all appreciate the work teachers do. But when we remember the teachers we’ve had, what do we appreciate about them? As a kindergartner at Gage Park Elementary School in Chicago, I remember feeling welcome in Miss Rueberry’s class and loving story time, despite the fact that as the child of immigrants, I spoke almost no English when I started school. In high school, I tried to make myself invisible as I slunk into Mrs. Gudelis’s German class, so that she wouldn’t call on me to speak “extemporaneously” at the front of the room. But I learned German so well that I aced my college freshman German courses.
What do YOU appreciate about teachers you have had? I asked that question of my World Book colleagues. Today, and over the next several days, we’ll share with you some of our memories about favorite teachers.
• Mr. Brown was a junior British literature teacher at my high school. In class, he would call on everyone at least once a week, really listened to what we had to say, and instilled confidence in us that we were prepared, intelligent, and somehow always correct as long as we tried. "Cold is a state of mind," he would say as he opened the windows in January. "Are you ready?" he would ask our class. If he got a “yes” or “yeah,” he would ask again, waiting for us to shout "I was born ready!"
• A student teacher had a HUGE impact on my life. When I was about 13, I created a magazine for a class project, writing the content and designing the entire “issue.” The teacher noted that it was done on a nearly professional level, including the advertisements I had created to make it seem more real. I had been doing this kind of thing on my own just for fun. But hearing this from a teacher made me wonder if publication design was something I should consider as a career. I got my BA in graphic design and have spent my entire career in editorial/publication design.
Do you see a theme here? Check back tomorrow for more memories of favorite teachers, and see if you’re right.