People Share Memories Of Their Favorite Teachers To Protest Betsy DeVos
By Zachary Brenner
6 months ago
No you do not.
English teacher in my final year of high school, sat me down and told me “you aren’t stupid, you’re better than this (referring to my essay), I’m going to teach you how to write” And he did, so I didn’t sound like an idiot.
Hot take: Kids should eat.
I had this teacher from Panama named Ms. Haefele. She was awesome, and probably one of the most compassionate people I ever met. Aside from being just legitimately interesting to listen to and wickedly funny, she didn’t think anything of shelling out her own money to help poor kids. She grew up in poverty and moving to teach in an impoverished area? She knew how it went.
I still get teary eyed thinking of how she paid for me and my friend to eat because she saw us take a half-eaten bag of chips out of the trash to eat it. Some little asshole was taunting us with the fact he could afford it and we couldn’t, then threw it away in front of us.
So, whenever she could, she bought us lunch. I loved that woman. She was like the sassy aunt I needed in high school.
Technology is amazing
Happened today actually. Stayed home sick from school and my teacher managed to get my phone number and sent me a text to check up on me. I told him I’m fine just a bit under the weather; and he replied with a video of the class saying, “get well soon marsh!” Definitely made my day and will be a long term memory. Mr. Demer, you’re the fucking best.
I had a class on Shakespeare in high school. We were acting scenes in class, and we were doing one where someone got stabbed. For a prop she brought a toy light saber, had a student ‘stab’ her, and she fell on the floor while over-acting the shit out of it.
Still stands out to me because it was comical and made me realize that even though she was a teacher, she was kind of a dork too. I think even at that age there was a tendency to think of teachers as being stodgy adults who just give lectures and assign tests. But I think all the best teachers I had in some way dropped the person of authority mask now and then and reminded us that they were, you know, just grown-up kids with a teaching job.
I had a great teacher once. Transformed my confidence over the course of my time in his class.
One example is he made me stand in front of the class and tell everyone a story, like off the top of my head out of the blue, like it was nothing. I was obviously shitting it this is an actual nightmare scenario for most people.
He said to me, “are you nervous? don’t be, you’re good at thinking on your feet”; I then reeled off something and killed it. It was like he tricked my brain into thinking I was something I was not and he did shit like this so often making people fulfill their potential. What a guy.
Jack-O-Lanterns are scientific!
Mr. B was an amazing science teacher, and I got to have him for two years. The second year, when I had him for biology, he got the district to buy 35 pumpkins by putting the latin name on the PO. Then he had us clean them out, carve them for Halloween, and do experiments with the seeds and the guts. So many great memories from his classes.
It is the little things
I had an English teacher that could lick her elbow. She finally proved it after we were all quiet and did our work for one whole class period.
Best class ever!
Not a phoney
When I walked into my Freshman English lit class in high school one day, there was an obscenity written on the board in big capital letters and everyone was chattering about who they thought did it. Just after the bell rings, our teacher walks in to open a discussion on the impact and meaning of words and to introduce our next book “The Catcher in the Rye” to us. She’s the one who wrote it. This super straight-edge, no BS woman in her late 60’s that you’d never even consider she knew swear words let alone used them. I’ll never forget that lesson.
This is very sweet
My high school theater teacher, Mr Quinn.
Quinn was a god at my high school. Revered by the students for his eccentricity, his loud voice, and his willingness to go to bat for hia students if they were in trouble.
I was one of the “four year wonders,” that is someone who joined the drama department at the beginning of freshman year and stayed until graduation. I took every class offered, from acting to directing to tech theater (which is part of yhe reason why I’m now a professional stage hand and have been for the last 10 years).
But the lesson in question came from the acting class. Quinn was himself a previous student of Uta Hagen, someone those of you with acting backgrounds will immediately recognize. Quinn taught us Method Acting in the Meisner style. Acting is doing. Become the character. We went through endless Meisner exercises: repetition, the door, the broom, etc. For many students it was just a little too heady to understand.
It wasn’t until later in life that I realized how important that lesson on “become the character” was. Becoming the character of “the employee” or “the boyfriend” or “the brother” made me better in those roles. I was a better employee, a better boyfriend, a better brother. It helped me become more successful and a better person.
Sadly, Mr Quinn is no longer with us. Colon cancer had to have it’s say. He was diagnosed when I was a senior, and when he had his surgeries there quite literally wasn’t a moment when one of his students wasn’t at his bedside. Even at 2am on a school day, one of us was there.
He initially fought it off, and was around long enough for me to delightedly tell him about my new career in professional theater, and regale him with backstage tales from major Broadway tours. But then the cancer came back, harder and more agressive. He quickly wasted away. I visited him at his home about a month before he passed, because I wanted to tell him about running a production of Die Fledermaus, one of his favorite operettas. Despite his pain, despite his exhaustion, he perked right up to hear what I had to say, and was even able to quietly laugh at some of the foibles the show gave us.
When he passed, the school held an enormous memorial service. Over two thousand people attended, the vast majority being former students. We told stories, cried, hugged each other. My sister, another four year wonder, evem sang the old folk song “The Mighty Quinn” in his honor.
I kinda veered off there from the original question, but I get kinda emotional and nostalgic when I remember those days. They were the overwhelmingly best part of my high school experience.
Still miss you, you dumb, dirt-licking gourd-head.
Who do you think is in charge here?
Obnoxious kid in class was trying to pick a fight with one of the more quite guys for no reason. Teacher shuts him down, and he mumbled something along the lines of “what do i look like, a little bitch?” Teacher tells him that he is a little bitch and to get out of her class.
Never really liked that teacher before then, but she was the first I had seen to shut down the obnoxious troublemaker so she gained my respect.
Did you do it?
5th grade homework: Play Outside
High school chemistry class, I asked why batteries use ampere-hours rather than just using coulombs, as neither really means much to the average customer anyway. My teacher proceeded to go on a half-hour rant which concluded with “I dont know”.
She doesn't sound like a great teacher
Fourth grade. We were dissecting owl pellets. One of the kids couldn’t dissect his because it was so tightly compacted. My teacher put it in a water bottle to help it dissolve. She forget and then drank from said water bottle. She was one of my favorite teachers.
Orwell would be proud
Not my story, I had the teacher for another class. But I know the story well. Senior year English. Traditional, “not college bound”, as christened by the school board, so few students actually care. Mr. P didn’t care that they didn’t want to engage, he was going to make them understand literature, and like it in the process. This is one of the amazing lessons by which he makes students appreciate novels.
Second semester, he teaches 1984. Now, doublespeak can be difficult to wrap your head around. For half asleep unengaged students with Senor-itiss, it’s near impossible. So one day, he changes all the decorations in the room, lays out different books. They walk in, they bell rings, and he begins class saying “today’s going to be a bit of an easy day. My expectation is that you follow along, take notes, and ask questions if absolutely necessary. Since this is a kind of difficult part of Wuthering Heights to understand, I’ll just be narrating. We’ll start where we left off yesterday, everyone open your books to page 67″
It works. Every year. No one has questions. They kind of like question if this is really happening, and then get on board. A few pick up on it immediately, and have a goofy smile all of class. But for the half engages kid who now has an entire our to quietly wonder what the fuck is going on, they realize – almost always – that it’s an example of double speak. At the end of class, he has a 5 minute PowerPoint on 1984. If questioned, he just says “I’m reaching 1984. I’ve always been teaching 1984“, and moves on. Never admits to anything, just like the party wouldn’t. It’s freaking genius, hilarious, and it works.
Watch and learn kids
My chemistry teacher made crude thermite for one lesson. He brought us out to the parking lot and we got to see a pile of horseshoes get welded together with it.
That guy was my favorite teacher in any class I ever took.
I hope this is real.
When my pre-k teacher taught me about unionizing our class and seizing the means of production from the directive of the school.
Take that, cool kids!
My graphics design teacher used to relentlessly pick on the ‘cool kids’ in class which made the rest of us feel more comfortable in his class room. As a result I wasn’t afraid to ask go up and talk to the teacher during ‘project time’. We had to design and draw a house plan and he said I have a knack for design.
That compliment is what I think led me down the path to become the Building Designer I am today.
My fifth grade teacher used to read The Chronicles of Narnia to us for a half hour after lunch.
There are duck farms?
4th grade in Mr Littlefields class – his parents owned a farm a gave him a bunch of duck eggs. We hatched said eggs in class in an incubator, and he let me take home one of the baby ducks for a weekend. The baby duck, Peepers, followed me around all weekend and it was magical and I loved Peepers.
This one took a sad turn
My highschool psychology teacher. He was also the schools cross country coach, took his class because psychology sounded interesting. Great human being, even greater teacher. Genuinely cared about the students and teaching so that everyone took something away from his class. Decided to major in psychology because of his inspiration.
I actually tried for the cross country team and made it. Really bad at running, could barely make a mile back then (still cant) and he’d stop by while running and make sure I was okay. Gave me a simple nod and smile every time.
Freshman year of college there was news that he committed suicide after finding out he had some incurable illness that would leave his family (2 young boys) in a lot of financial trouble. He was depressed and decided that life insurance was an answer to ensure his family’s well being. Broke my heart when my friend told me about it, I think it’s the only time I’ve cried about a death.
Now, I’m about to graduate at a top university in Psychology, have a huge background in research, working 3 labs my senior year, applying and have been accepted into a few post bac (premed) programs and grad programs and I have him to thank.
I’ve been depressed before, lonely and even attempted suicide before. Know that it gets better, you can do great things with your life and you can make a difference to others. Keep on fighting, keep on living and do the very best you can.
I'd eat my money
In 7th grade world history class we were in the middle of learning about the Middle Ages. To demonstrate how feudalism worked the teacher gave everyone a cup of, if I remember correctly, 15 M&Ms and a rank. There were Peasants, Knights, Nobles and the King. The Peasants were the most numerous group and there was only one King. Then, everyone had to pay taxes. The Peasants had to give some of their M&Ms to a Knight, the knights would have to give some of their M&Ms to a Noble and the Noble would have to give some M&Ms to the King. I was personally one of the Nobles and the look on the lower ranks faces as they saw their cups drain was priceless.
The whole process start to finish certainly did a good job of getting the general idea of feudalistic governing into our heads.
This is called natural punishments and they are the best
One day in class we decide it would be hilarious to flip our desks upside down (incl teachers desk) and sit at them as if they were the right way up. We all got detention for a week.
Decided next time we up our game, removed all chairs and desks to another room and sat on the floor. Ended up just teaching us the lesson as we all struggled to write with our books on carpet.
I feel like we got schooled that day more than anyone else.
He just loved D&D
I used to spend two or three hours each day after school in high school playing dungeons and dragons with my friends and my calculus teacher. Definitely one of my favorite experiences in high school.
I spent two years teaching after college and I don’t know how the fuck he had the energy to hang out after school to DM – I dropped and slept every day after work.
Ain't it the truth
My favorite teacher in my 9th grade English class told us “There is a beginning and an end to everything. There is a good side and bad side to everything.”
This stuck with me and is a quote that means alot to me. I use it often when Im giving advice or trying to talk someone out of suicide.
Mr. Smashy is a great learning tool
My 6th grade science teacher had a bunch of questions through out a PowerPoint he was using to teach. If you answered the question right, you got to spin a wheel to see what prize you got. The prizes ranged from a free pencil, to a comfy chair, to getting to smash a rock with a hammer he called “Mr. Smashy”.
One time he brought in a huge piece of granite and said whichever partner group got the highest grade on the lab we were doing would get to smash it. My group won, and it was a pretty cool thing.
This same teacher also had these riddles he would tell the class and we could ask yes or no questions until we figured out the answer.