Someone once said we only appreciate our parents when we have children of our own.*
Perhaps the same thing is true for teaching. Now that I'm trying my hand, I feel compelled to go back to some of my own influences and express my gratitude.
Before I name names, a disclaimer: these are not the only good teachers I had, nor the only ones who influenced me, nor the only ones I appreciate. What does distinguish them is that they each did or said something that I still think about nearly every day, decades later.
- Mrs Midgett, for a math problem that stumped me
- Mrs Cannon, for a puzzle that intrigued me
- Mrs Schenter, for critical edits on a book report
- Mrs Garing, for a book recommendation I really loved
- Mr McLean, for his delight at a proof with minimal steps
- Mr Fleischer, for demanding questions
The lesson I try to take into my own interactions with children are: guide them to rewarding experiences, let them struggle, push them to do more than they think they can and, most of all, remember that my little comment could be something they carry for years to come.
*The parenting quote: the closest I could get to a source was 42 things that change. From my attempted google searches, it seems far more popular are complaints about how parents can mess up their kids. Yikes!