Past Teachers Who Shaped Our Futures…
My life is full of teachers – parents, in-laws, friends, husband – and I was in the classroom as a trained teacher for 11 years. There’s no end to the sacrifices regularly made by educators and education professionals, and we really should be thanking them year-round. There are many all-consuming professions, but education is one of the unique ones that has the responsibility for other human beings, so it’s pretty difficult to get an educator’s brain to power down and stop thinking about teaching and students. Teachers do it all, and they do it because of their true love of children and learning.
Below, you can see how my colleagues and I couldn’t wait to talk about the teachers we have loved and appreciated in our educational journeys. Many, many thanks to these teachers, and to teachers everywhere!
Mrs. Sorenson, 3rd grade. Soft spoken, lovely woman who encouraged my love of reading and let me read through all the SRA reading levels. Remember those?
Mrs. Lois Kubes was my 8th grade English teacher. She was a loveable grandma-type: gentle, kind, and had a goofy sense of humor: she once started dancing an Irish jig in the middle of class. We gave her a party for her birthday, and I remember that she was so surprised. When we would see her in public, she was always warm and happy to see us!
Ms. Lucretia Jeffers, U.S. History, 7th grade. Ms. Jeffers was one of the first teachers I had who showed me that women could be whip smart AND funny; she seemed to want to bring this out of me, too. I stole lines and mannerisms from her constantly, and eventually her style became part of my style. She had the most wicked sense of humor, and even though her class was first thing in the morning for me, I couldn’t wait to get to my seat each day.
– Dawn Butler, Professional Learning Specialist
John Sylvester (“Sly”) built excellent relationships with students and gave us all our work at the beginning of the week with the freedom to decide when we would complete it.
– Keely Swartzer, Director of Professional Learning
Mrs. Barb Yetzer – she did a “loop-year” with my 2nd grade class so I got to spend two years with her. She was fun, warm, caring, inspiring… and I accidentally called her “mom” one too many times! The best part is that I still keep in touch with her to this day. She’s a Principal now and when I thought about going to college to major in elementary education, she welcomed me into her school to shadow one of her teachers.
– Sydney Anderson, Marketing Coordinator
Mr. Schlicter – my 5th grade history teacher. Previously, I did not appreciate or enjoy history. He brought the subject to life, while engaging with each student on a personal level. Also, he adapted well to a student’s learning style.
– Eric Cohen, CEO
There are so many, but Dr. Samaha at the University of Minnesota pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits in his criminal law course. We read Dostoyevsky’s Crime & Punishment and had to present a case about culpability. Dr. Samaha had a disability and told us if he could make it to class each day, we could too.
-Susanne Leslie, Professional Learning Specialist
I loved my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Schoot! She was kind, warm, and her love for teaching radiated off of her every day, which made school fun! At the end of the school year, she gave each student a T-shirt with all of our classmates on it that she had painted. I still have it!
I couldn’t pick just one—Mrs. Bonfig—my 9th and 12th grade English teacher. She brought Romeo and Juliet to life and made the mythology unit so much fun! She moved to the high school my senior year and I immediately signed up for her AP English class just so I could have her as a teacher again! She was so bubbly and passionate about what she was teaching!
– Jessica Price, Online Learning Associate, Curriculum and Instruction
The whole 5th grade team…my elementary school had an open floor plan, it was basically a huge room with four dividers and a big space in the middle for all the kids to come together. It sounds crazy, but it worked! The four teachers collaborated all the time, “shared” the students, and we had little totes that we would carry from one part of the room to the other for different classes. We did lots of interdisciplinary units, like a huge project on the Oregon Trail where we wrote a diary telling our tales of adventure and disaster along the way, incorporating geography, social studies, and math. They even took the whole 5th grade on a 2-night trip to Duluth! They really knew how to get kids excited about learning.
– Sarah Murphy, Evaluation Coordinator
Mrs. Saari was my 2nd and 6th-grade teacher. I remember that she wore lots of makeup and smelled like perfume, but what I loved most was how she made me feel! Mrs. Saari took the time to get to know me and my family. She invited my mom into the classroom to teach a lesson and I still remember feeling so special that day!
-Marcee Harris, Professional Learning Specialist