We all remember our favorite teachers.
The ones who encouraged us to find our voice, who believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves, the one who you hated at first but loved in the end.
Turns out good teachers really do have lasting impacts on us.
According to a study conducted by economists from Harvard and Columbia universities, a good teacher can not only improve a child’s test scores in the classroom, but it can improve her chances to attend college, earn more money and avoid teen pregnancy. (Read more on CNN.)
This study looked at the long-term impact of teachers based on their (controversial) “value-added” ratings. But the financial gains we receive isn’t the most important takeaway from a solid education.
Teachers can give us something books, paychecks and mutual funds can’t: they give us confidence, hope and that feeling that we can actually be anything we want.
My third-grade teacher — a nice nun — picked to read one of my stories to the class, which was both embarrassing and thrilling. My sixth-grade teacher — who gave us the blow-by-blow of her recent C-section — told me I had the chops to be a writer. And my English prof at the University of Hawaii-Manoa said life was so hard on me, I had to be destined for something great.
While I don’t think I’ve reached the level of “greatness,” I do think these three teachers — and there were more — made me feel like day-dreaming about being a writer wasn’t ridiculous. It was doable — and all I needed was desire and a plan.
I owe a lot of my career to the teachers in my life — some were teachers by professions; others teachers by actions — who instilled in me the courage to walk this path and the tools to survive it.
Who was that teacher who inspired you?
my only lasting memory ,was the teacher that didnt wear deodorant! p….u….! other than that ,i mostly perfected my “thinker pose”,-but actually sleeping, skill in class.
I have done corporate training, but I have never been a teacher in the sense of formal education. There are those who had an impact on me, but I thought I would offer here that my parents were both teachers, and my mother gave that up to raise her family. I have two brothers who are teachers. My father taught for almost 40 years.
I was talking to a co-worker just this morning about this very subject. Her 14 year old son was failing miserably in Biology until this year when his teacher made the subject come alive. He’s getting A’s now and loves the class!
The teachers that made the most impression on me were two English teachers in high school; Creative Writing and Short Stories. It made me appreciate the craft and art of the written word. We all have it in us to write successfully but it takes a certain person to bring it to fruition. Thank you to the teachers who really care about education and not just earning a paycheck.
Good Morning Cat,
Had both great & ghastly teachers. The Good: From Elem, Mrs. Leong 3rd grade, Mrs. Frost 5th grade, Mr. Callow h.s. math, Mr. Wee (student teacher Amer. Studies).
One of my student teachers at kailua hs was Jon Komeiji, who is now heads a corp. in Honolulu. He had a very casual style that made the subject, developmental psych., so much easier to learn–a personality trait useful in the real world, eh?
My sister is an elementary school teacher with all the requisite dedication. When furloughs started, since she couldn’t be on campus, she did PTC over the phone all day long!
Great post. I always think of one of my college professors who while I was discussing with him that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life (still not) he said “I know you, and I know that whatever you do, you’re gonna be really good at it. You’re so good at learning things.” Those have always been words of comfort to me as I’ve continued to explore my talents and interests. I’ve had lots of good teachers, but at a time where I was so uncertain, I always remember that my prof was confident in my ability to learn.
The teachers that I remember the most helped to instill a sense of confidence, provide hope, when I most needed it – going beyond the subject matter at hand. I am sure that they did not realize the impact that they made in my life and the lives of others. While I am not a teacher, I remind myself that I can make a similar impact (we all can) by the actions I take, the things I say, and how I communicate with loved ones, friends, and colleagues at work.
In high school, the teacher said to the class 49 out of her 50 students mastered the “English” part of her college-prep Creative Writing. Won’t tell you who the 1 dumbell was. Definitely not an effective teaching technique.
U.H. freshman english class, teacher always used my paper as examples for class. Said I had good style and a very descriptive format writing. That alone, boosted my confidence. And today, I turn to comments on the blogs. Yes!
I had a professor when I returned to school at the age of 36 that made enough of an impact on me that when I finished my bachelors I plowed into two masters programs and did them both in two years. Do I deserve any of the credit? Probably. But the reality is that with a few kind words during some difficult times there would have not been a graduate school in my future. Sometimes all someone needs is the right compliment at the right time. I’m still friends with my former professor, have done business with him.
In grad school I had an Iranian woman for one of my classes. She was a great source of inspiration and a difficult class on so many levels, but she was honest and fair. Did not know it at the time but she was 2 years my junior. Hard not to remember the fact she said she had never given a grade higher than a 97 on anything. Yep, made all 97’s all the way through. She did say I came closer than anyone else to getting a 100.
Then there was my Money and Banking professor at Thunderbird. God Bless him. He was a former assistant director of the FSLIC during the bailout of that industry. If not for him I’d never have wound up at Bank of Hawaii. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the birth of a life long love affair with the islands.
But frankly, even the professors that I was less than happy with influenced me in a positive way. Call it the benefit of age 🙂
CAT: I had 2 teachers that made a large impact on me. First was my 6th grade teacher who encouraged me to to work hard and be animated or true to my feelings. The other was my English prof who fed my passion for literature, drama, poetry, and theater. While I am not great, these things make me who I am. For this I am forever grateful to these teachers who helped me stick in school and pursue my destiny.
I owe everything I am to my teachers. My parents and family, taught me how to walk, and talk, but I assume you’re talking about school teachers… Every teacher I had, taught me something, even though they may not have taught me exactly what they were “supposed” to teach.
Kindergarten-Miss Tanimoto: taught me that I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be…
1st Grade-Mrs. Nishida: Taught me the importance of setting goals, she promised me that she would be at the ceremony when I got my Eagle Scout rank. She was sick, so she sent her son (now my hanai brother in law) in her place. She taught me to make good on all of your promises.
2nd Grade-Mrs. Asato: Taught me the importance of a sense of urgency and purpose. she would say “Don’t be “noro-noro” you have to be “shan-shan” (meaning you have to be quick about it, and decisive)
3rd Grade-Mrs. Tokashiki: Taught the importance of organization and cleanliness. She kept me after school once to clean my desk, since it was so messy and I couldn’t find what I needed to turn in.
4th Grade-Mrs. Yasuda: Taught me the importance of doing your VERY VERY best. I had done a piss-poor job on a poster project, right before open house, and she decided to post it behind her desk where no one would see it. My parents saw it and asked why it was there, and *I* had to explain to them that it was because I didn’t do my best on it. very humbling experience.
5th Grade-Mrs. Kimata: Taught me the importance of frugality, and repayment of debts. In 5th grade we had a thing called “mini society” where we made our own money, and would make and sell things every quarter… we bartered and traded, and somehow I ended up in debt to one of my classmates. I never paid him back, and Mrs. Kimata made sure that I figured out a way to repay my debt.
6th Grade-Mrs. Place: Taught me how important it is not to judge people. She wasn’t the most inspiring teacher I ever had, and in fact she called us “her worst class ever” I think that taught me that even if people judge you, you are the one who determines your fate.
Most influential Intermediate School teacher-Mrs. Reilley: She was my English and Social Studies teacher. She made us work VERY hard, but we learned that there was NOTHING, she wouldn’t do for us, she loved us, but she expected only our best and nothing less. She wouldn’t accept anything less than the best we could give.
Most influential High School teacher-Ms. Lee: Expository Writing and AP English teacher, she worked us even harder than Mrs. Reilley did, but we learned so much about finding out voice in writing, but most importantly, we learned that the grades didn’t matter much, what mattered was the learning. She’s the one who fostered my love of reading and writing.
College professor-Dr. Fischer: History professor, he taught me so much about history, but more important he taught about having passion for what you do. He taught me that passion is what makes your job worth waking up for every morning. Thanks Doc!