Educators come in as many varieties as the students they nurture. There are mentors, taskmasters, Socratic question-askers, and old-fashioned nerds just excited to spread their knowledge. All them, however, share a mission to grow the next generation, to give them the tools and opportunities they need to succeed.
It’s a mission inherently understood by many who work in education. And since 1984, Teacher Appreciation Week has been a way for everyone to celebrate the work educators put in to achieve that mission. Because of that, nearly everyone has a story, epiphany, or memory connected to a teacher, librarian, administrator, or other staff member who gave them a chance,or helped them discover something they love.
At TCEA, we work every day to support the mission of education by promoting digital learning. This week, we asked the TCEA staff about their favorite teachers. Here are a few of the stories we collected.
Administrative Assistant, Membership
“Anyone that attended my high school between 1980 and 2013 remembers our Physiology & Anatomy teacher, Coach T. Even though I graduated more than 20 years ago, I still remember his unmatchable energy and enthusiasm — and how his 1000-watt personality and passion for teaching motivated his students. He made a huge impression on me, and I’ll never think of femurs or spleens without thinking of my time as his student.”
“My favorite teacher was my high school band director, Mr. Bennett. I was a nerdy kid who lived for band and thought that everyone else did, too. He saw how important it was to me and empowered me to do more than I would ever have dreamed of, including reading out loud to our band the “anonymous,” and very badly written, poems I created urging our band on to better performances. He believed in me and helped me to believe in myself.”
“Where I grew up, we were preternaturally blessed with a whole bunch of very good teachers. Some were funny, others were earnest. All of the memorable ones made us feel comfortable, like they somehow always reminded us that we were all just people, some very young people, trying to do good things.
But a special shout out goes to Mr. John McMillan of Bastrop High School. He is a friend of my uncle, and before sophomore English, I only knew him as an excellent guitar player. Eventually, though, he showed me that language is just as flexible and useful as a fresh roll of duct tape. He also once described me as “superfluously verbose,” which, based on my current career, was a rock-solid insight.”
Director of Professional Development
“My first-grade teacher was awful. So Miss Gruel, the next year, was like a little piece of heaven. She was just nice! That year, I had moved to Sunnyside Elementary, and the school name fit the teacher. I remember crying on the front porch later because the school year was over.
Another was Mr. Meckler in seventh grade, who was the band, English, and shop teacher. The eighth grade boys took shop, and the girls took home economics. So, as a seventh grader, three of us went in to talk to the principal because we wanted to take shop, too. The next year, the girls got half a year of home economics and a half a year of shop, and the boys got a half a year of shop and a half a year of Spanish. This was in the middle of nowhere, Montana, and we were able to walk in and ask the principal to make that happen. And surprise, surprise, we were able to take shop the next year.”