An Archive of Growth?

Write about a teacher who had a lasting impact on you.

If you’d asked me for my favorite teacher that would’ve been easy. Fantry. Hands down. But you asked about impact. So here are ways in which teachers have made an impact on me.

1) Pre-school, can’t remember

We are sitting in a circle while the teacher reads a story. The little boy next to me keeps pestering me, and no matter how I try to get him to stop, he won’t. The teacher sends me out of the circle to sit by myself. I am pissed as all hell. This has always stood out for me as a moment of great injustice.

2) Elementary and again in high school, Mrs. Jacobsen

The best music teacher ever. Dropping out of her choir was one of the hardest things I had to do in high school. I knew I was letting her down terribly.

3) Upper elementary (4-6) and again in high school, Mrs. MacDonald

Also a music teacher, but British and not nearly as friendly. I thought I was never quite meeting her standards in elementary school. Then in high school Miss J (#2) had to be out for a few months and she asked Mrs. MacDonald to come out of retirement to sub for us. After years of flute practice, I finally knew what I was doing, and Mrs. MacDonald recognized that. That was rewarding.

4) Upper elementary (6), can’t remember(!!!! McDunough??)

During a unit on prehistoric humans, our social studies teacher assigned us to write creatively about them. I wrote a very short story about a cro-magnon girl sighting mammoths for her tribe. Later my teacher told my parents at a parent-teacher conference that this story made her cry. I still have it saved somewhere.

5) Upper elementary (6), Mrs. Donnard

This woman rubbed me the wrong way from day one. Consequently, I never did my homework. Consequently she thought I was a slacker and gave me detention all the time. Consequently I hated her even more. She even tried peer pressure on me. (Pfft.) She made me 100% certain that I hated math and wasn’t any good at it.

6) Middle school (7), Ms. Driscoll

Loved her. Made math understandable. Made me almost love math. Always did my homework for her and every math teacher thereafter.

7) Middle school (8), cannot remember, have deliberately forgotten

8th grade Language Arts. The year before we learned grammar rules under the strict Ms Perhacs, who I loved. The next teacher was a dramatic come-down. She treated us like we were far younger. I had been excited for one of my favorite subjects. I loathed my time with her. Especially when she gave me poor grades on creative assignments.

8) High school (10 & 11), Mr. Fantry

Gave me room to be creative and encouragement to continue. I still follow his advice and share it with others.

9) High school (10), Mr. Glover

A gentle soul, with a subtle wit, and infinite patience for girls who rarely made trouble and so were allowed to get up to all kinds of nonsense.

10) High school (12), Ms Radice & Ms Ritz

When you’re taken in by them, you join a family. They supported me through an incredibly rough period. And don’t you forget it.

I’ll stop there. Going through the years, I realize I have something to say about almost every school year.  And we’re not touching on college. Or even all those other teachers. These are just highlights.

Photo: Brian

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