Ok, I know that it has been about 6 years since I have been in high school, but I just wanted to spotlight a few teachers that made a difference in my life. These are teachers that taught me a lot more than their particular subject. Although I am currently a stay at home mom, these men all contributed to my decision to get my degree in History Teaching. I fell in love with the way they taught and their dedication to mentoring me and helping me to become the person that I am. So in no particular order:
Joshua Naylor: Until I had Mr. Naylor I was terrified of all things Math. I had been semi-unsuccessful in math up until this point. I had convinced myself that I just wasn't smart enough. He completely changed my mind. He helped me feel like I was smart. I felt like every day that I walked into his classroom that I could be successful. He taught me that I could think differently and that I could think the way that I needed to in order to do Algebra. He was always so enthusiastic. Not just about Math, but about life and teaching and about my life. I honestly felt each day that he cared about who I was and who I was going to become. I guess that it didn't hurt that he pole vaulted too! I was amazed when I found out on one of the last days of school that that was his first year teaching. Who ever said that well seasoned teachers are the best teachers?
David Hively: Not just another math teacher. This man deserves a medal for putting up with my constant sarcasm in his classroom. Mr. Hively taught me about trust and reliability. I knew that every morning at 7 AM Mr. Hively was going to be at his desk to help me (and anyone else who needed it) with whatever silly problem I couldn't figure out from the previous night's homework. I know I always entered his room flustered and he probably shook his head as I left his room by my apparent better mood simply from figuring out what I was doing wrong. Mr. Hively showed me that a real teacher cares and wants his students to be successful. Not just successful in his class, but in life. Another thing I loved in Mr. Hively's class where those silly word problems he gave us every week. It was something I stole when I started my student teaching (just changed a little to make it work for history). I don't know if I got it then, but I don't think the purpose was ever to "just get the right answer", but to extend ourselves and think abstractly or simply just THINK. Thank you for believing that high school students are capable of thinking and stretching themselves ... something that I have learned through my observations in various schools that so many high school teachers don't believe.
Henry Stoner: I think I may have litterally cried when I learned that this man retired and my younger siblings would not have the joy of learning from this man. Mr. Stoner was a very very sarcastic person. Now sarcasm I could appreciate. I think he owes Mr. Hively an apology for making me even more sarcastic than I already was. This man taught me to LOVE history. He taught me to appreciate the little things. I still remember the stories he told about being in the army to teach us about insubordination. I remember the story about his cat being put through the dryer...can't remember why he told us that one though. I remember the excitement with which he taught. He was a great story teller. I remember the time he spent to really teach us and make us formulate our own opinions about history. I remember him listing out the various participants in the holocaust and make us vote if they were guilty or not. And then we had to decide what their punishment was supposed to be and we had to defend our vote and share our reasoning. What I wouldn't give for this man's knowledge and supplemental materials. The man was serious about being to class on time too. This still makes me laugh to this day. A very good friend of mine and I both had choir prior to his class which was on the opposite side of the school, and could be difficult to make it there on time if the halls were crowded or you needed to stop by your locker. So each day this friend and I participated in Operation Period 8, aka let's try to get to class on time so we don't have to put our names on "Stoner's Tardy List". Totally lame and very high schoolish, but what can I say we were in high school.
Tim Smith: This man was the icing on the cake for me. He made me decide that I wanted to be a teacher. For a while it was a debate between Math and History, but History won out in the end. Anyway Mr. Smith. Another man who I am truly convinced loves his job. He helped me really find my love for Political Science. He is the reason I got my Associates in Social and Political Science. He helped me get involved in Teenage Republicans, and helped to make me aware of other programs available such as being a guest page for our State Rep. and Girl's State. He instills in his students the love for and importance of our country and how it works. He taught his students to care about the world they were living in and that the only way to do anything was to be involved because soon it was going to be our world to participate in, vote in and run. Mr. Smith is another teacher that taught students to think and not be limited by what other adults told us we could or could not be.
I only hope one day to be able to be as good of a teacher as these men. I hope that I can take the various things I love about each of them to make a difference, even if only in one student's life.