I think most of us have a teacher to thank in our lives, whether it’s a teacher we had in school or a person we regard as a “teacher” because of something valuable we’ve learned through knowing them. Personally, my eighth-grade Literature teacher Mrs. Cowherd comes to mind. Her individuality and her encouragement in teaching my classmates and I how to read, dissect stories and write creatively has stuck with me. In her class, I read The Outsiders, The Diary of Anne Frank, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and so many other stories that would propel me into a love of reading. She’s the first teacher who pushed me to write a poem that I was actually proud of. I have a fond memory of a story she recounted to us when she came to school with lilac-colored hair. She had tried to dye her hair in order to cover up her gray patches and instead, the dye turned her hair purple. She decided to rock the lilac-colored hair because purple was her favorite color – turns out it’s mine, too! So thank you Mrs. Cowherd for holding me accountable, teaching me the importance of reading critically and writing creatively!
In honor of National Teachers’ Day (which is today!) and National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7–11), OOMers #ThankaTeacher!
Stephanie A.: “During Teacher Appreciation Week, and beyond, I’d like to thank my fifth-grade teacher for playing a huge role in fostering my love of writing. At the beginning of the school year, she gave each student in our class a sketch book that we decorated with anything we were passionate about. In addition to independent reading time, we had free writing time. This allowed us the freedom to creatively express ourselves through writing. If we were ever struck with writer’s block, Ms. Davis had a basket in our classroom filled with postcards and pictures with images that we could paste inside of our sketch books and use as inspiration to write about whatever came to mind. I wrote so many stories that year and continued writing after that. When I was choosing a career path years later, I knew that I wanted to do something that would incorporate writing. Thank you to my fifth grade teacher for encouraging me to follow a career path that I love!”
“One of the most memorable teachers in my life was my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Hrnciar. She was the first teacher to really recognize my passion for writing. During their parent-teacher conference, she told my parents that I was going to be a writer one day (her prediction proved correct). Her support made me feel even more invested in reading and writing. I’ve had many wonderful teachers in my life, but I’ll never forget the encouragement I received from her. My time in her class had a lasting impact on me. Thank you, Mrs. Hrnciar!” - Serena Kappes, Senior Editorial Director, Parents Online
Julia: “My second-grade teacher was incredibly kind, and for that reason I always remember her fondly. But she was also committed to reading aloud to us, and I have distinct memories of experiencing Charlotte’s Web and Bridge to Terabithia for the first time as read-alouds. I love that she picked these books that are both, in different ways, emotionally devastating. Reading them as a class helped take the edge off, and I love the memory of her shepherding us through those intense experiences.
On a very different note, I was also lucky enough to have a really rich and positive high school experience. At the same time, I was a little bit of a handful, and a little bit eccentric. I am so grateful to almost all of my high school teachers who just let me be me (and some of them, beyond just tolerance, actually encouraged my weirdness!).”
Ashley: “A love of reading can always grow stronger and deeper—no matter the age of the reader. My high school English teacher, Lewis Brunnemer, encouraged students to dive deep into books, and taught us to tease out the valuable lessons about the world around us, authors, our peers, and ourselves. I always loved to read, but Mr. Brunnemer helped me see books as keyholes into new worlds—he’s a great reminder that we can always grow in our special relationship with books. (Center Moriches High School alumna!)”
Emily: “I would like to thank my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Zyglocke. She sang songs, wore costumes, turned the classroom into a laboratory, and challenged us every day in all the best ways. Because of her, I still remember how to spell floccinaucinihilipilification and know an excessive number of facts about Ferdinand Magellan, but more importantly, she showed me how much fun school could be and turned me into a lifelong learner.”
Thank you to all the teachers near and far. You are appreciated!
Photo via Flickr/Betsy Streeter