If you think back to your school days, I imagine you can recall a favorite teacher whose impact on your life still resonates. You may have several teachers who meet that criteria. I do.
My first grade teacher, Sister Mary Laurette, kept in touch with me until her passing. She was the first to encourage my love of the English language and nudged me to compete in a spelling bee dominated by the eighth graders. I didn’t win, but I walked away with the confidence to take risks, risks that could be embarrassing (similar to writing for a magazine in which errors are public for everyone to spot.)
Duane Shufelberger ignited my love for journalism and storytelling. Shuf, as we affectionately called him, taught high school journalism for decades. He rarely discouraged a story idea, which led to a prom parody in which my co-editor and I demonstrated how classmates could attend the expensive event on the cheap. The ride on the back of a trash truck complete with “footman” substituted for a limo ride. Probably not my best work.
College introduced me to the legendary Charles Smith, a 40-year oil company public relations guru turned professor extraordinaire who purchased red ballpoint pens in bulk. The saying, “he bled all over my paper” most likely originated in his writing class. Promptness and accuracy were the expectations. You best not be late to class as he would shut the door when the bell rang and administer an extra-point quiz to those students who arrived on time. Those who didn’t drop the class, not only learned to write but to be on time in the work world.
As we celebrate Kansan Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 National Teacher of the Year, and her innovative intergenerational program, I invite readers to share memories of their favorite teachers, along with photos if available to email@example.com. Teachers planning for the approaching school year face challenges and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Let’s share some positivity with them.