16 November 2010

Thanks Teachers!

Quoting one of my sisters' pages:

Tonight, a teacher somewhere in your community is preparing lessons to teach your children while you are watching television. In the minute it takes you to read this, teachers all over the world are sacrificing their own time and, more often than not, investing their own money for your child's literacy, prosperity, and future. Re-post if you are teacher, love a teacher, or appreciate a teacher!!!

As for most things, the most media coverage is of the bad performers of a profession. But I grew up seeing my grandmother (another teacher) doing exactly as described, and see my sisters doing so when I visit them.  And some of my teachers, my kids' teachers, and so on were/are obviously doing likewise. 

It's American Education week, so I'll invite folks to contribute their stories of favorite teachers this week.


Liz said...

I have two favorite teachers. The first one was my seventh grade math teacher. He was a big fan of anyone who loved math, regardless of gender. For a girl growing up before we knew who Ophelia was, much less that we had to survive her, that was significant. My other favorite was the high school language arts teacher who let me take a world literature class as an independent study project. A random comment, a stray five minutes in the morning before the coffee kicks in -- good teachers remind us that we can achieve greatness, and that we can achieve that greatness using 1" margins, double spaced and of course spelling counts!

EliRabett said...

Mom Rabett was my favorite, an old time first grade dragon who could teach a stone to read, but was the reason the new math died. Eli once asked her why she didn't teach him to read before he started school, and she pointed out that his first grade teacher was going to have enough trouble.

Many were the night when I watched her prepare lesson plans and mark paper.

Robert Grumbine said...

liz: feel free to name names. (and what is the ophelia reference? Hamlet's ophelia has been around for a long time.)

you remind me of a couple stories.

When I was 4, my mother told me stories of all the great stuff I'd be learning when I started school next year. So I was pretty excited when the time came. ... and even more disappointed when it turned out that you had to be 5 before a certain date. which I wasn't. So in the next year, we played 'school', which included me learning to read. Mom was encouraging a lot of recess, but I'm told I was something of a taskmaster :-)

This lead to some difficulties for the school, but no sympathy from us as it was their own fault! (first grade teacher was more than a little peeved, but since she also wanted to force me to be right-handed, again, no sympathy)

Second grade teacher, Miss Vajda (later Mrs. Anderson) adapted fine. Helped by the fact that it was the era of self-paced learning, which she didn't resist. So I was off reading from the upper level books (upper level wrt the 2nd grade section, not grabbing off college texts!), and teaching myself math from a higher grade's book. It was also she who taught me that infinity was more than just a really big number. The book had said so, but she got me to truly understand it.

The business of teaching myself stuff is probably the most important thing I ever learned in school.

The math lead down the path, or, rather, contributed (the main part being to change school systems between 10th and 11th grades) to Mr. Giannetti's assistance. There was a mismatch between the school systems in the path to taking calculus in your senior year. So two things happened. One was, he wound up agreeing to take me in the calculus class as an 11th grader (I was, then, one of 5). The mismatch, and part of the agreement was that I had to teach myself trigonometry (a separate course in my original school) and pass a standardized test on it. No worries.

Of course that meant that the 5 of us hit 12th grade without any more math to take in the high school. Mr. Giannetti argued successfully with the school board to send us (4 of us, it turned out) to the local community college for calculus III. We managed the transportation ourselves, which gave me some good practice at driving in snow. Then I continued next term with the differential equations course.

so one theme for me on good teachers is that they try to ensure that their students learn as much as possible. I had many such.

Liz said...

Bob, Mr. Shorbs was the math teacher and Mr. Raftery the language arts teacher. I made my quirky reference to the book "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the selves of adolescent girls," copyright 1994. (just realized I typed "surviving" yesterday). A huge thanks to both of them for seeing the academic potential in a person who didn't think of herself that way. Gott celebrate that!