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Flashback Friday ~ Teacher Appreciation

Mocha With Linda has started her very own meme. This is how she describes it:

This new meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

I am enjoying this meme a lot. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

Tell us about the teachers from your school days. Who were your favorites? Why did you like them? How did they influence your life, your occupation, or another aspect? Have you ever gone back & seen or contacted a favorite teacher to express your appreciation? Do you still keep up with any of your teachers? Was Teacher Appreciation Day/Week celebrated when you were in school? (Just share about favorites this week; we’ll visit the not-so-stellar teacher memories another day!)

I am a teacher. My grandmother, the woman who raised me, was a teacher. I have no end of admiration for teachers and there have been some fabulous teachers in my life.

My second grade teacher, Mrs. Olsen was a wonderful woman full of fun.  She taught me that learning could be fun and exciting and joyful.  In the third grade we had a student teacher in our classroom, Miss Vickie.  She taught me that a teacher who takes the time to get to know her students personally can change lives.

In 4th grade I met Mrs. Rasmussen.  She was an important part of my life for years to come.  At the end of my fourth grade year she hired Gram to be her nanny and our families are entwined to this day — not so much in that we see each other often because we don’t, but we all learned our morals and our values and our integrity from the same source, and we are ALL teachers.

I had Mrs. Peter’s for 5th grade.  She and Mrs. Dreison, my third grade teacher, read aloud to us every day and taught me the joy and treasure of dramatic oral reading.  Mr. Maines was my 6th grade teacher and he taught me many positive things, one of which was how to keep my cool when things go wrong.  He was a wonderful negative example — Mr. Maine’s was a fainter!

In 7th and 8th grade my teacher concerns weren’t educational.  Mr. Barnett and Mr. Terrace were young and handsome and all I remember about them is their smiles.  Mr. Barnett broke out hearts by getting married mid-year.  sigh

In high school I had several wonderful teachers.  Most of the memorable ones had something to do with English or language.  I was a star and at that point in my life, positive attention was crucial.

However the most profound impact any teacher has ever had on my life came from Masoud Kalada, a college math instructor.  No matter how many times I asked the same question, no matter how frustrated I got, he never lost his patience or his cool.  He told me, “I am the teacher.  All of the pressure is on me.  If you aren’t getting it, it is because I am doing something wrong.”  That is something I carry with me in my teaching.  If a child is truly trying to learn and he or she isn’t getting it, I am the one at fault. I am the teacher.

Every teacher I have ever had has shaped how I teach.  Some by providing good examples, some by showing me exactly what to never do.  But it is Masoud’s example that I hold in my heart every time I approach a student who is struggling to understand.  The pressure is on me to teach.  If I find the right approach, the student will learn.


  1. What a great teacher you must be! Just by reading this I know, I would want you teach my kids (if I had any more…. ) 🙂

  2. Some teachers stay in our memory forever! Mine was Mrs MacManus my nursery school teacher – oh how I loved her! 🙂

    1. Akelamalu — I don’t have fond memories of my first two teachers. After them though came a whole passel of folks I love!

    1. Linda — I really could write a book — one chapter on each teacher listed. I had a wonderful educational experience.

  3. What a wonderful approach Masoud has – I’ll be remembering that often.

    We’re saying our goodbyes now, and I’m okay saying goodbye to friends — because we’ll still ‘visit’ online and hopefully for real in the future. I’m okay with the neighbours and acquaintances, because if I never see them again, well I’ll survive LOL. But the special-needs teachers who have worked with my kids, one on one, and given them so much — I’m shattered to leave them. If they knew how many tears I’ve already cried over leaving them they’d probably be scared! My gratitude is beyond words; it’s boundless.

    Teachers are a fantastic theme for this week’s look back!

    1. Susan — the people who love our children do become precious to us, don’t they? You will find equally wonderful teachers in America.

  4. The dean of the education department of my university used to say, “If the student hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught,” echoing your Mr. Masoud’s philosophy. I know that some student actively resist learning, but it would be so helpful if all teachers had this attitude. Great memories!

    1. Barbara — and most students who actively resist learning were taught to behave that way! A bad teacher can do a heck of a lot of damage.

  5. all my memories of school are related to stress and frustration. which is strange as i learned most things easily and didn’t have problems getting good marks (which brought me even more frustration later as i never learned how to study properly). i do have good memories of my english teacher, though (english in my case being foreign language)
    stranger still, my mother was a teacher, and a good one at that – for kids other than her own, that is.

    1. Polona — learning how to study was a shock and a trial to me, too. In compulsory school I mostly absorbed things without half trying. My Gram was an outstanding teacher, though rather short of patience with me. Go figure.

  6. .
    Like you Quillly, I am a teacher also; 22 years at a community college, 17 years as an aerospacen engineer involved in training, and four years in the Army. During those working years I also taught Sunday school and had various other volunteer teaching tasks.

    I don’t remember any grade school teachers by names to identify with our classes or their personalities. The first I remember was in my sophomore year in high school. There were three in our class, we also had three in the freshman class.

    At any rate, I remember Mrs. Farns**th. The two of us boys and the girl thought she came to school quite often not wearing a bra. She was old, at least she seemed old to us, and was quite dippy.

    After her I remember several high school teachers quite well. The same goes for my college teachers. Guess I woke up someplace, probably when along came the braless teacher. 🙂
    BTW, this is a fun meme post, I might do this one for next week’s FlashBack Fri now that I am blogging again. It would be a week late. (I was very critical of late homework, accepting in only on a case by case bassis)

    In case there is any problem with braless, here is a reference from which to study (teacher in me to point it out):

    1. Jim — this memem happens every Friday. jump on the bandwagon and start up on time next Friday — you can post this one AND the new one!

  7. Masoud’s example is, naturally, the correct one.

    It means, of course, that the teacher is to provide the intensive, personalized instruction that each child in the classroom needs to succeed.

    All 36 of them.

    All at the same time.

    While every child, parent, supervisor, and taxpayer in town (not to mention a few of the tourists) is screaming abuse in his ear.

    At a pay rate that will saddle the (required!) expenses of his education, training, and insurance on his grandchildren. Assuming, of course, that he hasn’t already had to sell his children into slavery to pay them.

    The school system, in cahoots with the health insurance industry, probably tried every trick in their repertoire to avoid paying for the treatment of Masoud’s nervous breakdown.

    And not surprisingly, the best and smartest teachers are now selling Avon.

    From A follows B, and from B, C, and …

  8. great post…
    sweet tribute to Masoud 🙂
    i love teacher stories…they are so important to our development and understanding of the world and how to handle the adult challenges…
    thank you for what you do 🙂

    1. Skootsmom — yet teachers are among the most maligned, worst treated public servants there are. Why is that?

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