This week’s challenge is about teachers. Now, let me explain something that is very important: I have been blessed with some of the best teachers I think I could have ever asked for so this is a real tough one for me. I’m gonna try to talk about a few, but please don’t be offended if I miss you, as there’s probably 20 I could easily choose from.
Let’s start with Coach Richter.
I remember the first day of class sophomore year we walked in and he sat us all down and said he said, “I have to tell you guys, before I was a teacher, I was in and out of jail for twenty years.” And I remember we all like freaked out. I most definitely turned to the girl next to me and said something to the effect of, “Leave it to Lockhart to hire an ex-convict to teach English.” And he just laughed at us and told us later that he was a lawyer. And that was pretty much how the rest of the year went. I always really amused by him because we had the exact same sense of humor. I remember he would say things and I would just crack up and the rest of the class was not nearly as amused. I was so sad when he told us he was leaving because I really liked buggin’ him.
Mrs. D was my English teacher my senior year and she was so supportive. Her class was AP Literature, which followed AP Chemistry (which was of the most difficult, most hated classes, I ever took. Thank goodness that is over) and she did not hate that three of us walked in consistently late from labs that we hated or stressed out from a test we were all pretty sure we failed. I also remember her letting us play Taboo because it was good for us to learn to articulate. She also offered us extra credit if we could find typos in “real-life.” (To be clear, she would have been appalled with the Taboo card I found a few weeks ago. I also would have gotten some major bonus points.) She gave me a new passion against awful grammar. There is no reason professionals have major typos in their posters (or books or anything else). She also gave me a new love of Dr. Seuss. Who knew there was still something to learn from a children’s book as an 18 year old? Mrs. D knew. She always ended class with: “Make good choices.” It was always nice knowing she (like most of my other teachers) was keeping an eye on me and cared about the choices I made and wanted the best from me.
Next, Mr. Manzano.
He was my Theatre Arts teacher sophomore and junior year and I was his Ed Assistant senior year. I remember he went to One Act with us my freshman year and I really liked him and was broken-hearted that I was not going to get to take another class with him (he was teaching speech class that year, and I already had speech credit). When he took over the Theatre department, he moved the classroom to the stage. That was always the coolest thing. I also remember one day junior year it was freezing and we came in and were all shivering, so we ran a rehearsal with all the stage lights on high (for anyone who has never spent any time on a stage, stage lights are so hot). His catchphrase was always: “do it again,” and I remember that he always just wanted to see things “differently.” He was always so good at building us as more than just actors, but as confident young people.
Next, Ms. Hardaway.
This is one of the most inspiring, confident women I have ever had the opportunity to meet. She taught speech (and also about a million other classes, seriously) and coached debate (and also about a billion other things) and helped with One Act. We spent many Saturdays at schools for none other than academics. And it was always wonderful because she wasn’t much more of a morning person than any of the rest of us. And let me explain something about UIL, for those of you who don’t know: it starts before 6 most mornings, and it goes until well after 10 or 11 at night most times. So, that’s extra early. But I don’t every remember her ever being mean to us, she just cracked us up all the time. She was always so supportive and helpful. I remember we spent a lot of extra time in her room and our debate meetings always took way longer than they needed to because they were just such a blast. As hard as the early mornings were, they were always worth a day spent with this wonderful woman and the other speech and debate students.
Lastly, Mrs. Bagley.
Mrs. Bagley taught me Pre-AP and AP physics. I remember I only wanted to take AP Physics because I really liked her, but that year our school got a grant and changed teachers (and there was so much drama). To start, she spent the first semester of out senior year helping us with our homework during her lunch and her off period because out real teacher had no idea how to handle smart, lazy seniors. After that, she essentially crammed an entire year of AP Physics (which is already kinda difficult) into about three and a half months. And, even more impressive than her teaching it, and me passing the AP test (which I was pretty sure I was going to fail), I must have really learned it because I help my roommate with her homework now. I remember she sent us with cake for the test (the AP teachers were always really good and sent snacks for our breaks during the tests) without forks or plates because she figured we were almost adults and we didn’t need them. When we brought it back after the test because our proctors wouldn’t let us eat it, she stayed late after class and ate it with us.
Many, many of my teachers have just poured everything they have into their students and I want to express the great gratitude I have for them. I know this doesn’t even touch any of the teachers I had before high school, and let me assure you, you guys were just as vital. You can tell they have a passion for what they do and that is really the most important thing to do when you teach. There is so much more to teaching than the test at the end of the year and I feel like my teachers really knew that. They have helped shape me into the person I am today.