Recently, Jay wrote an article for a local online news site about the great, dedicated teachers in our school district. He got a ton of positive feedback and it prompted many to take a stroll down memory lane thinking about the teachers that inspired them to follow their dreams. It got me to thinking about what teachers I would list that inspired me...and I came up blank.
I have a less than stellar educational background. It's not that I'm not smart or couldn't do the work, it was more like I didn't want to do the work. And I didn't want anyone to tell me to do the work. Cruising under the grade radar was just my style. My grades weren't bad enough to fail and bring unwanted attention my way, but not good enough to have any expectations put on me. Perfect. I was well into my senior year before I realized school started at 7:30 and not, in fact, at 9:00. Oops. That did not improve my GPA. Having detention was the best shot for any homework getting done, so it worked itself out. I was much more concerned with making people laugh than learning about the War of 1812.
It was not the fault of the teachers that I was uninspired. A few may have tried...most just tolerated me...some maybe even thought I was funny.
My fourth grade teacher was pretty and she smelled nice. It totally freaked me out one Halloween whilst Trick-or-Treating, she opened the door of a house and offered us candy. Why wasn't she at the school? Who's house was this? Am I in the Twilight Zone?
My sixth grade teacher was supportive as I struggled with horrifying migraines and social awkwardness.
On the first day of seventh grade gym, the teacher called my name and said "Vance, huh? I've heard of you. Your reputation precedes you." Uhhhh, what? I asked my dad that night what she meant and he said "It means you're a b*@$&, and everyone knows it." Well, let me tell you! That started quite the tumultuous relationship between Miss Anderson and myself. At every opportunity, I would do anything possible to annoy her, and she would do everything in her power to not get mad. She got mad a lot. I remember it like it was yesterday...I fell asleep during health class and woke up to an uncomfortable looking Miss Anderson trying to explain to a bunch of 10th graders the benefits of the Today's Sponge (Yes, I'm that old). Of course I laughed out loud and this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I had to carry my desk out into the hallway and sit out there for the rest of the semester.
But then, we had a moment! It was during 11th grade gym. We had to go outside to play softball with another gym class. Things were going smoothly until the one (and only) mentally handicapped girl in our school went up to bat. Something or other happened and the girl flipped out! She threw herself onto the pitcher's mound and started swinging the bat around. Neither her aide or our one (and only) elderly security guard could talk her down. It was becoming really awkward as we all had to stand around and pretend not to stare. After a few minutes of watching the poor girl flail and refuse to go into the school, I walked up to her and said "Hey Joyce. Can I walk in with you?" Like a switch was flipped, she stood up and we walked arm in arm into the locker room. Later that day, Miss Anderson sidled up to me and said quietly "Ya did good, kid. You're alright." For some reason that meant a lot to me and even though no one else heard it, it became a symbol of truce between us. She may have even laughed out loud at some of my antics by the time I graduated.
My 12th grade physics teacher was nice...so I shot him in the neck with a gum band. That's a different story for a different time.
Anywho...do YOU have a teacher that inspired you to follow your dreams? Let's share.