It’s Teacher Appreciation Week: How Our Favorite Teachers Inspired Us
The week is coming to a close, and with it, Teacher Appreciation Week – of course, teachers have made such a big impact on our lives that a week is hardly enough. The other day we came across this really cool Instagram post from none other than Bill Gates. It inspired us to make our own list of how teachers have inspired and taught us valuable lessons – whether it was a teacher from preschool all the way up to college. Read on for some of our responses:
Rachel, Senior Account Manager:
Ms. Katherine Bradshaw, 11th grade English
Ms. Bradshaw taught us to be “all in” on things. She believed that if you fully engaged in a topic or lesson, you couldn’t help but learn and grow from the experience. She had high standards but was an extremely empathetic person, celebrating creativity and honesty. She also came to school one day with two different shoes on and instead of being embarrassed, she just laughed and said, “well, we know what kind of day I’m having – a fun one.”
Lori, Vice President:
Mrs. Krehbiel, Plum Street Preschool
Thank you, Mrs. Krehbiel, for teaching us early that we could all be who and what we wanted to be. Each day we had several minutes to play dress up, choosing our outfits from the many bins of dress-up clothes at the preschool. One day, I dressed up in the firefighter’s big coat, boots and hat. Several three- and four-year-olds exclaimed, “girls can’t be firemen!” Mrs. Krehbiel gently used the opportunity as a huge teaching moment, telling everyone that girls and boys can be anything they want to be. She even brought in pictures of women firefighters, police officers and doctors the next day.
Nick, Account Executive:
Mrs. York, 3rd Grade
Mrs. York was the Energizer Bunny personified. She was energized and full of life, but was also kind, smart and a born educator. Life in her classroom was colorful; the typical monotony of school would quickly fade away when in her presence. As a fairly quiet, reserved kid, I at first wasn’t too keen on Mrs. York’s creative teaching styles, which forced me to engage in many exercises involving acting, music or speaking in front of my peers. But I quickly learned to love each and every day in her class. Her lessons went beyond the subject matter at hand; they taught me something more. She helped me to see the joy in stepping outside my comfort zone and to find the creativity in all things.
Diana, Senior Account Executive:
Mr. Illig, 3rd Grade
Mr. Illig taught me the importance of honoring and celebrating good work. He did this by going out of his way and taking students to a Japanese restaurant near the school for lunch when they reached a certain number of stars for good work or genuinely showed a desire and passion for learning. I found this to be motivating as a student and it made me realize that good work deserves to be celebrated, even now especially with so much negative energy being heightened by the media in daily news today.
Connor, Account Coordinator:
Mr. Teague, Spanish, 12th grade
Mr. Teague was the one person who stayed in my corner as I struggled to graduate high school. All through high school I never cared about grades, I never did my work and I was always in trouble. When I was a senior, it was a running joke between my friends and other teachers that I would be in high school for another year. Mr. Teague not only ensured that I felt the confidence I needed to succeed, but regularly checked in to make sure my grades were up to par, that I was staying out of trouble and that I had the ability to continue my education after I left his class. He showed me that, not only that I was smart enough to graduate, but also that I was worthy enough to graduate. He showed me the value of self-worth and the benefits of a positive outlook. I worked towards pulling myself together and proving him right. He even ended up being the one to hand me my diploma on graduation day and as he did he said, “I’m so glad to see you here.” I cried on that stage. I owe everything I have today to Mr. Teague and never would have had the will to succeed without him.
Heyun, Account Coordinator:
Mr. Magill, U.S. History, 11th grade
History can be fun! Beyond the rote memorization of dates, names and facts that are usually associated with high school history, Mr. Magill emphasized the stories of U.S. history, and passed on the importance of learning from them. Thank you for always focusing on making the lessons in our books relevant and interesting.
Erika, Senior Account Executive:
Mr. Yonce, 6th Grade
Mr. Yonce had one of the best (i.e., dry and sarcastic) senses of humor that I ever experienced with a teacher. He really kept all of us on our toes – no one dared say, “can I,” when they should have said, “may I,” after a few weeks in his class. He really invested in his students beyond just the academic. In his class, I was certified in CPR and First Aid and participated in my first real musical (I later became a theatre minor in college). He put an emphasis on technology and learning to be professional when working with your colleagues (classmates), creating a website and portal specifically for us with our very own “@mryonce.com” email addresses. Underneath the sarcastic exterior, he was also one of the most kind and caring individuals I’ve ever met, taking the time to cheer me up with a joke and a kind smile when he saw I was upset and setting aside time with one to two students at a time to take them to lunch and ice cream and just talk. To this day, he still reaches out to me every year to wish me a happy birthday and check in. The lessons that I learned in his class were invaluable not only to my academic and professional careers, but also to becoming who I am today as a person.
Duncan, Senior Editorial Director:
Mr. Gray, 3rd grade
Mr. Gray was awesome — very silly, very fun and very smart. And a fantastic storyteller. He had a gift for making each kid in his class feel smart and valued. He also didn’t, at least while we were in his presence, let any kids bully or be mean to other kids. I learned from him a love of words and sentences that persists to this day.
Anton, Associate Influencer and Content Strategist:
Bob Rucker, Diversity in Media, San Jose State University
It’s not my responsibility to decide what people may want or not want. They need to make the decision themselves.
Pam, Managing Director:
Mrs. Jorgenson, 4th Grade
One of my favorite school projects was writing a book and putting the book together, including the creation of the book cover and spine, title page and illustrations. My mom still has this book! I completed this project in Mrs. Jorgenson’s class where she taught me about storytelling, the power of imagination and the importance of clearly communicating my ideas. I use these skills everyday in PR.
Kendra, Associate Account Coordinator:
Mrs. Fischer, Spanish, High School
Mrs. Fischer was one of the most passionate teachers I have ever met; her career as a high school Spanish teacher at Waunakee High School lasted more than 40 years. During my junior year, Mrs. Fischer announced that she would be retiring. But little did she know that she would be met with so much disappointment from our class that she would no longer be teaching us, that she decided to postpone her retirement and continued to teach for another year until we graduated.
Though I already loved Spanish, she inspired in me a deeper passion for the language and a desire to travel the world and understand different cultures. This led to me continuing to study Spanish in college and I eventually ended up studying abroad in Ecuador, which fostered lifelong memories and friendships that I will cherish for years to come.
Kristen, Account Coordinator:
Char Rostomily, 3rd grade
Mrs. Rostomily – better known as Mrs. Rosto by all of her students – is the most authentic and compassionate person I have ever met. Despite many hardships in her personal/family life, she never let it dull her love of teaching and for her students. She always put a smile on her face, had the most contagious laugh, and gave the BEST hugs. Aside from going on many fun field trips and Slurpee runs to the nearby gas station on lunch breaks after getting 100 percent on a spelling tests, the best part about having her as a teacher was that she would celebrate any amount of success in the classroom, no matter how small an achievement it might have been. Mrs. Rosto taught me the importance of carrying a positive attitude, even when you are surrounded and overwhelmed by negativity, and showed me that it is equally important to recognize others’ achievements and hard work.
Keely, Vice President:
Madame Markert, high school French
Madame Markert had such a capacity to care about her students in the classroom and beyond. She taught me to strive for what I wanted in life and to have the confidence so I could accomplish it. When I graduated, she wrote me a note of encouragement reminding me to focus and apply myself because she knew I would be successful if I did.
Jocelynn, Account Manager:
Mr. Falader, 5th Grade
Mr. Falader was an incredible teacher with a love for music and Steelers football. He incorporated the guitar and singing into many of his classroom lessons and often played Simon & Garfunkel during breaks or reading time. To this day “Scarborough Fair” will always remind me of walking in to Mr. Falader’s classroom each morning. Mr. Falader helped all his students realize that class can be fun and that the power of music can really enhance emotion, learning and memory. He also taught me to always be passionate about the things that drive you.
Amber, Managing Principal:
Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, Broadcast Journalism, college
Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer taught me everything I needed to know to launch my career in broadcast journalism, and this led to landing a role as the anchor of a news talk station. Dwight not only taught me the skills to start my career in journalism, including how to find and interview sources and how to edit audio, but he also inspired me by the stories of his days in broadcast and by the infinite energy and enthusiasm he brought to every single class. Most importantly, I learned from Dwight how to shape stories; what it means to put your heart into your work; and he inspired me to be the type of mentor to others that he’s been to me.
Candace Owen-Williams, high school English and Drama
Candace Owen-Williams sprinkled fairy dust on my love of words – spoken words, written words, the words that go unsaid in the subtext on the page or on the stage. For her classes I devoured classics, novels, poetry, nonfiction, plays. For her assignments I wrote countless papers, poems and essays on my Apple IIc into the wee hours while my boarding school friends slept. I looked forward to her detailed, insightful comments in the margins and, most of all, her enthusiastic encouragement. She showed me how to take writing to a whole new level. She pushed me past my comfort zone. She took the time to celebrate my wins. She asked me to direct a play from scratch, when I had no idea what that meant. Then she gave me a chance to write a play and direct it. As I look back, what I learned from Mrs. Owen-Williams has a lot do with Bhava. The example she set as a mentor and the opportunities she gave me to invent and lead bolstered my confidence that I could start a company from a blank sheet. At graduation she gave me a pair of golden earrings, the shape of stars, with a card that said “I will see your name in lights.” Thank you for seeing me, Mrs. O-W—yours was the light I needed to follow my dreams.