My Best Teacher

Who was, or is, the greatest teacher in your life? What have they taught you?

 

My second grade class on Wacky Hair Day in Portland

My second grade class on Wacky Hair Day in Portland

As a teacher, I feel like I have been asked this question too many times to count.  Today I am responding to part of the writing challenge from May 5th. Over the years I have given a number of answers because I realize that no single teacher has caused me to be who I am today. So here is an overview:

Elementary: I don’t even remember her name, but I remember that in my third grade class I was fascinated that my teacher incorporated projects regarding Native American heritage into our curriculum because there was a large native population in our school.

Middle School: Mr. Nunn was my eighth grade homeroom teacher. He was also the first teacher that I remember who let me choose my own projects that interested me.  I remember studying astronomy, which led to astrology and Greek mythology, and it later prepared me for high school English classes.  He also gave us ample time for silent reading with a book of my choice, which I loved!

High School: Mr. Gonzalez was my first high school Honors English teacher. I remember that he was great at bringing humor in the classroom. One day he came in wearing red stiletto heels!  He is the one who made me start to like writing.

 

I spent quite a bit of time around this part of the UO campus. photo cred https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffozvold/2253126009/in/photolist-4r6RSa-4raBb9-4r6MTe-4r6MoP-4raL6J-4r6Tkr-4raP7U-4raSD5-4r6LwZ-4r6ViX-4r6Rhr-4raYzU-4raGfo-4WwdTa-4raAnu-4r6R2e-4r6RyF-4r6Qe6-4r6QJn-4r6PBk-ax8a5V-axaSfA-ax8af8-axaSg9-axaSv3-ax8age-axaSCW-axaScm-ax8a6F-ax8ai8-ax8a9v-axaScU-axaSeQ-ax8akD-axaSjG-axaSaE-ax8anT-ax8ab4-axaSq9-ax8aea-ax8abZ-4W8a8d-4W3W4a-4W8bbL-4W8asw-mU6Ar-aqiBF5-PSJvn-e5NRv-eippFG

I spent quite a bit of time around this part of the UO campus. photo cred 

Undergrad: I had a lot of classes over the four years I was at University of Oregon.  I think I only took one or two courses from her, but she was also my academic advisor for the international studies program so I talked to her a few times outside of class: Kathie Carpenter. This woman had traveled the world. She had adopted a kid. She was a strong single woman who was passionate about her career.  I wanted to be her. She told me one time that she could see me being a school administrator because I have a business minor and I love education, which remains to be seen!

 

Graduating from Lewis & Clark with my Master's degree in typically rainy Portland weather

Graduating from Lewis & Clark with my Master’s degree surrounded by great friends and family in typically rainy Portland weather

Graduate: I’m about to complete my second graduate degree so I’ve had quite a few grad courses as well.  My favorite instructor was Ruth Shagoury.  She reminded me that writing can come from a personal place and that I needed to find my voice in my writing. I’m still working on those things. She also made me think about teaching pre-school because of the fascinating reading and writing that can emerge at that level.  I’m grateful for her classes, because all of my student teaching was in the elementary grades, but my first full-time teaching job (and a lot of my subbing jobs before that) was teaching pre-K. As a teacher, I love her website Litforkids and Choice Literacy which she regularly contributes to.

 

The world is a great teacher photo cred http://freestock.ca/flags_maps_g80-world_map__abstract_acrylic_p2970.html

The world is a great teacher photo cred 

Now: I think my biggest teacher has been the world. I’m an international citizen. While I’m not a third culture kid, I certainly identify with that question, “Where is home?” I love my family and friends in Portland, but I feel like if I ever buy a house it would probably be somewhere in Latin America or on the Mediterranean somewhere. I feel like everywhere I go I find something to love, new people to love, and a new culture to explore.  I will keep learning because the world is a big place!

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12 responses to “My Best Teacher

  1. You did a much better job than me! Well done :-) I also decided on (a really boring name) resource Wednesday like you suggested :-)

  2. Great post! For me, it was Mrs McGlynn, who gave me my love of English – and sarcasm; and Mr Kearney, who gave me my love of French – and sarcasm ;) They still both ask after me, almost 20 years later!

    • I guess that because I am a product of the vast public school system in Portland, it kinda makes sense, but I am a little sad that I am no longer in contact with any of my teachers! I’m always happy when I hear about people who still talk with the teachers from their early childhood. It is also a little inspiring: I want to be one of those teachers that kids want to stay in touch with!

  3. Great post! Teachers are constantly asked this question and I am always stumped by this one. I can’t remember any teachers that I particularly felt a bond with and sometimes I wonder if that is why I became a teacher. I was VERY shy and generally overlooked in school. In my classes, I always go out of my way to connect with the quiet kids. I never thought of saying that the world was my best teacher, but that is probably the truth for me. Thanks for such a thought provoking post!

    • Thanks! I never made any particular connections with my teachers either, but if I think back to those school days, those are the teachers who I remember.

  4. Pingback: Unblogged | litadoolan·

  5. I absolutely love your passion for teaching and it’s great to see you didn’t forget your former teachers who did their best to teach you as many things as possible! I’m teaching in China right now and it’s been an adventure of my life so far!

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