Sunday, May 3, 2009

Great teachers in my life

Have you ever had a great teacher? I have had numerous great teachers in my life. The first one was my tough-as-nails eighth grade teacher. Her name Miss Grace Klampe (not Ms, Miss thank you very much). She was as stern as a dried prune and as demanding as a drill sergeant but she could TEACH. She demanded respect and got it. She actually had to use the ruler across the knuckles for yours truly on one occasion when I was less than stellar in my behavior. But to this day I respect her. She wasn’t warm and fuzzy but she taught me important lessons like personal responsibility and being accountable for my actions.

The next great teacher was my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Harmon. She was young, sweet, and beautiful – the antithesis of Miss Klampe – but she was also smart and literate and engaging. Where Miss Klampe made learning a duty to be honored, Mrs. Harmon made learning a journey of discovery to be relished. Of course I fell hopelessly in love with her in the way that only a 13 year old teenager can. Despite my boyhood crush, she did instill in me a love for English and it occurs to me that she may have influenced my decision to become an English teacher.

My final great teacher was my major professor and advisor in the graduate program for educational leadership – Dr. Ernest Noack. Ernie was Princeton-smart and Montessori-kind. He anchored many of his leadership courses around the work of Stephen Covey and he taught us that it is core principles that guide us in life. And like all the great teachers, he walked the talk. He made us feel like we could succeed as school leaders by his words spoken and written on the countless essays and projects we were expected to write. Never did he utter a discouraging word. Like all the great teachers in my life, he instilled confidence. There were many more influential teachers including my parents but that’s next week’s topic. I honor these great teachers because next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. We have great teachers here at Taylor and we will honor them at our PTO Appreciation Luncheon on Tuesday May 5. I invite you to take time this week and recognize the teachers who have positively influenced you and your children- especially those here at Taylor. Forget the old saying that those who can't do teach. I say, those who can teach others to do.

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