Teacher Appreciation Day

May 4th, 2010 • Kate

large_thanksThanks to Robin Wasserman, whose fantastic blog post clued me in that today is Teacher Appreciation Day! Goooooooo teachers!

Like Robin, I had some amazing teachers in my life who supported me in my love of books (except for Sister Nancy, who tried to get me to stop reading at lunchtime in the grammar school cafeteria. Apparently, she wanted me to “socialize” more. Whatevs!) and of learning in general. So, with thanks:

To Mr. Beete and Mr. Gadson of Port Chester Middle School, for making history come alive for me in those awkward pre-teen years. I still know a ridiculous amount of strange and obscure facts about the US Presidents.

To Sister Margaret and Sister Rose Agnes of the late, lamented Academy of the Resurrection, who let me turn in poems about horses, scenes about the characters in other, better stores (fan fiction for an A!), and introduced me to thinking critically about books in English class. It wasn’t enough to just read — we had to THINK.

At the University of Delaware, to Bernie Kaplan for a creative writing workshop that not only improved my writing, but helped me learn to give better criticism to others. Likewise, to my first college-level English teacher, then grad student Devon Miller-Duggan, who taught a class on popular fiction and its literary antecedents, and assigned me to read Ursula K. LeGuin, Dashiell Hammett, and Sandra Brown as the heirs to Mary Shelley, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charlotte Bronte. In her class, I learned that reading popular fiction didn’t just have to be for fun, brain off, but could be meaningful on many levels. And to my thesis advisor, Dr. Michael Rewa, who taught an undergraduate class in Arthurian literature and gave me the spark of inspiration for my first complete YA novel, long since shopped around, self-published for friends and family, and most appropriately shelved. Nonetheless, without his historical dive into centuries-old records for the truth behind the myth, my image of Arthur would be utterly different — and less for it.

Which teachers inspired you? And why?

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8 Responses to “Teacher Appreciation Day”

  1. Kiki Hamilton Says:

    To be honest, I don't remember that many teachers from my school years (sad, but yes, I'm that old!) but I've had some recent teachers who have inspired me and made me think deeper about my stories: Uma Krishnaswami and Sarah Aronson. Both fabulous teachers and I count myself lucky to have had the chance to learn with both of them. In fact, another class starts with Sarah on Monday – yay!

    and btw, did you know I own a copy of THE KING'S SISTER? I'm just waiting for the chance to actually meet you to get your autograph! 😀

  2. DeAnna Says:

    To my Western Civ teacher in college, who allowed me to fling books across the room, as long as I could state the reason why I hated them as much as I did.

    To my high school grammar teacher, who taught me the meaning of "unexpurgated" and "conjugate" and showed us alternate conjugations of dirty words one day when everyone else was at the state B-ball tournament. I fell in love with grammar that day.

    And to my middle school English teacher, Miss Word, who first told me that my poetry wasn't bad. I'm terrible with names, but I still remember hers.

  3. Julia Says:

    To Mrs. Brown – my second grade teacher – who had us practice cursive writing every day. (I can still perfectly recreate the alphabet as seen on a million classroom walls.) Mr. Barnett – my 6th grade teacher – who was a humanitarian. My hs freshman English/Lit teacher – Mr. McCord – who instilled in me a love of Shakespeare and the classics. And, my sophomore honors English teacher (whose name I've forgotten) – who loved & encouraged my poetry writing.

  4. Mandy Says:

    To my mother – who taught my Pre-K class and now teaches 5th grade. She loves to read and passes that on to everyone.

    To Mr. Parm – who assigned us to write short stories and read through my twenty-five page masterpieces when everyone else was turning in two pages.

    To Mr. Isaacson – who combined English and stand up comedy to make the eleventh grade fascinating.

    To Mrs. Veil – because Physics is an important part of who I am and you gave me all my basics.

  5. Shannon Says:

    Mrs. Jacoby – Freshmen year in high school. she used to read Shakespeare out loud with a HEAVY New York accent. You haven't heard Merchant of Venice until you'd heard a New Yorker read it. She was the BEST!

    Also Ron C. my college English advisor (27 yr-old with a PhD – great man and teacher). He was the one that enlightened us about the appropriate times to use cuss words. He explained that they are incredibly powerful words when used correctly. He also introduced the term "Mega Ton Words" – they are words that crush the written work beneath their own weight of ambiguity, seems, is, are, at … can't remember them all.

  6. Carrie Harris Says:

    My high school history teacher actually has a Facebook fan page with over 150 former students on it. He was THAT cool.

  7. Jenny Says:

    To Mr. Smails at Rocky Mountain High School for teaching me that being too nice when editing doesn't help anyone. "Be mean" he said, so I am (but in a nice way:)

  8. Suzanne Casamento Says:

    My highschool English teacher encouraged me to read and write when I would much rather have been out with my friends. It all started with a poetry assignment. Once I started writing, I discovered I liked it. So she asked for more. Thank you Mrs. Meys.

    At Emerson, my first writing teacher was Andre Dubus III. He was so passionate about writing and such a cool guy. He made me think, "Wow. Maybe I can really be a writer." Thank you Andre!

    And thank you Daphne! Great post. I love how we'll never forget a great teacher.