Question: put on your parent hat, or relative hat. Who was a good teacher in your child's life; why do you say that?

For this one, please put on your parent hat. Or your relative hat: grandparent, uncle, aunt, sibling.

Think of a child or some children you know and love. Picture talking with a bunch of friends, someone comes up to you and asks, "So who have been the really good teachers in (child's name)'s life? Why do you say that?"

What I'm really interested is what comes right to mind. Who was a good teacher in this loved child's life--how do you know? Why do you say that?

It'll be interesting to see what themes emerge.

Tags: assessment, memorable+teachers

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Mr Bahr. He was my chemistry teacher in 1982 at Harlem High School. I noticed at Classmates dot com that someone had started a thread about who was your favorite teacher. You have to understand that Classmates dot come will have members form every graduating year since the school had been opened all the way to the kids in the school currently. Only three names kept popping up despite the fact that this school has graduating classes numbering over 1,000 each year. I don't know the other two teachers. They may have started teaching there in the years after I graduated.

What made him stand out head and shoulders above the rest? He seemed to see kids as real people not just a job to do. He would talk about real life in the nooks and crannies of talking chemistry. He joked with us. He was relaxed with us. He wasn't all dry and formal. He was a friend in addition to a teacher. He was the type of person that if you were in trouble and you felt like you couldn't go to your parents for help you could trust him for good advice without being judged or him being different with you afterward.

He was the only teacher that we (my other friends and I) would ever get together at 4am inthe morning to TP his yard, then hide in the bushes for 4 hours so we could see his expression, then jump out and yell "we love you Mr. Bahr, get a few pictures with, and then spend the next two hours cleaning up his yard. The last few weeks of senior year make even the most studious students act crazy. hehehe

I remember being inspired to be a teacher by him. I never thought about teaching until I had him for a teacher. I remember going to him to ask him about my going into teaching in college. He warned me off of it, which puzzled me but I trusted his advice and didn't go into teaching. Here it is twenty years later and I have been teaching chemistry and biology online for a few years and love it. When I teach, it is in the back of my mind to be the kind of teacher that he was. One the kids can feel sees them as people and not just a job to do.
My son's first grade teacher. She was not my favorite. She was not well suited to my son's personality (she=high strung, he=autistic). She pissed me off enough in the first day that I wrote a 2 page letter to the principal about her suggestion he go to an SDC class. What I respected about her was even though she was dead wrong in her initial assessment about my son, she was a professional. She did not try to move him to another teacher. She worked with him and with us through a difficult year. She kept an open mind, and grew to enjoy Leroy, and build a decent relationship with us. I think it was good that my son didn't have "the perfect" teacher, because he will have to work with different personalities in life, so it was a learning experience for him. I know this isn't some violins and roses story of a perfect meeting of minds, but this stuck out in my mind because it's easy to get along with people you agree with, this was about getting along when you don't agree.
Thank you for sharing this. Dealing with different personalities is a huge part of life, and even though you may not have gotten along with her you both learned to work together for the benefit of your son. I hope everyone involved learned from this and I commend you for sticking with it and not transferring your son to another class.
Thank you so much, Tammy, Alice, and Matthew. Really enjoy your reflections.

I've found I can look back over the years, kindergarten to high school, and a few teachers really stand out.

It's a "gut" sort of thing. I can think of one, a first grade teacher named Ruth, who made my daughter let go of being a perfectionist. She got my daughter to laugh out loud in class, to open up, to have fun with things. How my child learned that year... With delight and abandon!

Another, a high school English teacher, pushed and pushed my daughter, got to know her deeply as a person and expected nothing less than exquisite refinement in essays, complete with deeply creative original thought and all the "trimmings" of superb mechanics.

It's interesting from this perspective that it's not at all about "what subject was covered." It's not about all those things that are on school reports, such as "did or didn't learn three digit by two digit multiplication," or "can list the tensions that led to WWII."

It's about what my child became, in the presence and guidance of a specific teacher. Did my child become more? Or did my child shut down and just try to "get through" the experience? Which teachers took my child as she is and moved her along in becoming a more capable learner... Which teacher shut the learning down and made it meaningless, joyless? Which teacher inspired my child to read more, do more, explore more, relax, take risks, find self-discipline? In my mind, those are the ones who make a difference across a lifetime.

Oh--for me, no doubt, I know who it was: my fourth grade teacher who had animals in the class and let me take care of them. She told wonderful stories, too, all about her dog. I still remember her stories about her dog. Why? Not sure. But I remember the wonderful, warm feeling, listening to those stories. That teacher was an oasis of meaning in the excruciating boring years of my elementary school experience.

(And speaking of why we became teachers--thanks, Tammy--I think much of my motivation is to UNDO that boredom for kids, to make sure they never have to go through what I had to go through!)



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