We love and appreciate teachers. Each of us has been a student and we all know how hard teachers work and the impact they can have on our lives.
It’s officially National Teacher Appreciation Week. We try to thank every teacher every day by doing what we do. But we also thought that this week we’d share some of our personal stories about teachers that have made a difference in our lives. From us to you, thank you!
Mrs. Donohue Nadeau and Mr. Nadeau
While it has been just over 20 years since I was their student I can say with the utmost confidence that I would not be where I am today if it were not for Mrs. Donohue Nadeau and Mr. Nadeau. Both had a positive impact on my academic and personal growth in school. They made learning interesting, personal and enjoyable. Both were committed to my own discovery of learning. Their unwavering commitment to help me succeed is something that I am extremely grateful for in my adult life. These two teachers made a huge impact on my life and I hope they know their fantastic work has not gone unnoticed. Mrs. Donohue Nadeau and Mr. Nadeau thank you. Thank you for being fantastic teachers and masters in your craft!
Ms. Vander Naald
One day she said, “When you’re an adult this is what you’re going to remember learning in fifth grade.” Our teacher then assembled our art projects, rough spheres of construction paper, and demonstrated the orbits of the planets: all in one plane, moving in the same direction, at different speeds, around the tremendously larger mass of the sun. You were right, Ms. Vander Naald, that is the one thing I remember distinctly. Of course you taught me much more, things that sunk in so deeply I would never stop to think where or how I learned them. Thank you for your inventiveness and your foresight.
Professor Richard Ivry
If I were put in charge of the task of “fusing” together the best qualities of a teacher and creating a “Frankenstein Instructor”, Professor Ivry would be the prototype. Professor Ivry is, and will always be, a great inspiration in my life. He is as enthusiastic now as he was when he first started teaching…I assume – simply because I can’t imagine that a higher level of passion for a field of study exists. I strongly remember his ability to encourage participation by illustrating concepts head-on. How many students can say that their teacher used Transcranial Stimulation on himself to show its affects on the motor-cortex? Strangely, I am also reminded of Professor Ivry’s hard (but fair!) tests, which were meticulously constructed to include ALL of the material covered, and which required a student to not only memorize facts – but to also be able to think critically and apply learned concepts. Professor Ivry, thank you for being a great instructor and for instilling in me a thirst for knowledge!
I loved writing long-winded romance/detective stories in middle-school, full of cliches and run-on sentences and thought maybe I’d be the next great American novelist. Mr. Plitt’s creative writing class was workshoppy and full of collaboration, and he was the kind of educator that would take a folder of 70 pages and actually read them all on the weekend and give me detailed notes as though I were a New York Times Bestselling author. And you know what? He totally made me feel like one. Go Mr. Plitt and go all awesome teachers!
Ms. Sok, was one of my history teachers back in high school and the first teacher I truly considered a friend. She specialized in humanizing historical figures and movements, placing an importance on what lessons we took away from the classroom as well as how we used that knowledge to better ourselves and our environment. It was an empowering moment when I realized that, one day, a chapter about the time we were living in would become a history lesson for future generations. To an undeterred optimist with an outlook on life and learning that I continually aspire to have myself, thank you Ms. Sok!
I went to one of those middle schools where you call teachers by their first names. All the teachers were awesome, but David in particular stood out for me. He was the Math and PE teacher, in addition to being the Ultimate Frisbee coach. I’d always been interested in math, and David turned that interest into understanding. He was also responsible for my life-long (so far) love of Ultimate Frisbee. I don’t play as often as I used to, but I try to get in at least a couple of pick-up games every month. Thanks for everything, David!
Mr. Baron, Mrs. Harley, Ms. Reetz
I was lucky to have many inspirational teachers. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade triumvirate of Mr. Baron, Mrs. Harley, and Ms. Reetz were particularly memorable. Mr. Baron taught us how to play chess, and in the process how to think about winning and losing in real life. Mrs. Harley opened our eyes to the world around us with a wonderful sense of humor. Ms. Reetz demanded and got our very best, leaving every one of us with our standards raised. I’m thankful to them and to all teachers who dedicate their lives to their students.
There were only two of us who wanted to study computer science at my high school. But Mr. Schwartz taught the class with passion nonetheless. He took time to understand what we were looking for and helped us navigate a broad subject to get us where we wanted to go. On reflection, that was as much about learning about ourselves as it was learning about the fetch execute cycle. We both went on to degrees in computer science which heavily informed our career and lives. Thank you Mr. Schwartz. And thank you to every teacher I ever had who helped me become the person I am.