Outside the home there are few people that children spend as much time than their teachers. Good or bad they have all helped shape us into the adults we’ve all grown to be. Today we’re honoring the teachers who have pushed us the most. We begin with a memory from one of our contributors Doreen Van A., followed by a moving talk by Rita Pierson entitled Every Kid Needs a Champion and touching quotes from some of our favorite TV teachers.
“Thank You Mr.B “
– by Doreen Van A.
Mr. B shocked the hell out of us wasting no time, on the first day of school. He (figuratively) grabbed us by the scruffs of our necks and rocked our little 6th grade worlds, as we knew them. He wasted no time in setting us straight regarding his expectations and our behavior.
- “There will be no Surfer crosses drawn on your notebooks”.
- “Young Ladies, you will dissect frogs and worms. You will cut them open, pin back their skin and take notes on what you observe.
- You will not get out of your lessons because you think this is “icky”.
- You will perform experiments with a hypothesis, theory, logical steps and a well-reasoned conclusion.
- You will learn to be observant, logical, accurate and self-disciplined.
- All students are all expected to complete every assignment to the best of your ability.
- My expectations are high, and I expect you to meet them for yourselves.
Honestly, this was the first time anyone had treated we girls with the same expectations as boys, like that was the most natural thing in the world. Yes, we girls received most of the same curriculum, but everyone knew our horizon boundaries were pretty much mommy, nurse, ballerina, etc. All were valuable professions, but we would want to choose for ourselves, and not be limited by custom. Mr. B showed us that we could be Scientists, not just “Lady” Scientists. We could achieve any other endeavor where we were willing to work and apply our minds.
Within a few days, everyone in my class was eating out of his hand, and soon came to love him. He did my class one of the biggest favors of our lives. He taught us how to think critically, analyze information, and express ourselves accurately and precisely, and develop self-discipline. I learned to ask myself more than “What am I seeing? ”, but “What am I NOT seeing?” More importantly, he showed us that these skills were already inside of us; we just had to recognize and work diligently to develop them.
It seemed that everyone in that class did well throughout their school years. In fact, these might be the seedlings of talents that served me well later, during my high school, college and professional years. Ironically, he was one of the first black people I personally met in my young life. He later became Principal of the school. This was virtually unheard of in that time (60’s) and place. Apparently, he was just so good at his profession. For me, my teacher’s dedication opened up a whole new way of looking at the world. Sometimes students do appreciate their teachers but do not say so often enough. I wish I could find him today to thank him.