I Want to Be That Teacher


Lately on Facebook I’ve noticed a rash of “You know you grew up in _____ if…” status updates. The comments vary from favorite restaurants and haunts to town and school traditions. It’s been interesting to note how often the conversation turns to high school teachers, and surprisingly, most of the comments are positive. I am fascinated by what people remember.

I have a few memories of my own:

Mr. Strittmatter who wrote out algebraic equations as if they were poetry, and I finally got math.
Mr. Tisdel who loved Melville and planted in me a love of literature.
Mrs. Shirey who devoted hours of her life, so I could say I created a great yearbook.

But here’s the thing: when I try to analyze what they did, I come up short. Was it kindness, patience, passion for their content, the sheer joy of teaching? A myriad of other things? I don’t know.

I do know I remember them: names, faces, the way they made me feel.

In a week, I start my 6th year teaching, and as I think about how I will partner with my students one question resonates:

What do teachers do that create the impact on a student that lasts for decades?

I want to be that teacher.

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