Counted among the many professions that have had to change up how they do their day-to-day activities, teachers around the world are doing a stellar job, taking their classroom instruction and delivering it through technology to ensure their students don’t fall too far behind.
Right here at home, Expect More Arizona has declared today Arizona Teacher Appreciation Day. Expect More Arizona was created in 2009 by a group of business and community leaders interested in establishing a public-private partnership to make Arizona’s education system the best it can be – from early years through career – and creating a shared voice to support education as a top priority for our state.
I asked the HMA team to share a bit about their favorite teacher. To all the teachers, here in Arizona and around the globe (and a special shout-out to my sister, Sandra, a PE teacher out in California), we salute you today and every day for all you do.
Scott: My favorite teacher was Linda South, now Dr. Linda Schmitt. She was the 6th-8th grade language arts teacher at Maryland Elementary School. She gave me the encouragement and freedom to write creatively, whether it was a screenplay, poetry or other assignments that allowed my imagination to translate from my brain to a written page.
Abbie: My 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Jolly, was my favorite teacher. For many reasons, but most importantly because he encouraged me (and all his students) to write every day. It didn’t matter what you wrote, as long as you wrote something. Fast-forward all these years later, and I’m still writing, many MANY times on most days.
Alison: This is a tough one given my own mom (Ms. B to most of North Scottsdale) is a teacher and my favorite teacher in life, but outside of her, Ms. Matsuishi at Sequoya Elementary would likely be my favorite. She was my eventual 3rd grade teacher, and we had a bumpy start. Our regular teacher, for whatever reason, preferred libraries to us. As such, mid-way through the school year she stopped being our teacher and was named the school's librarian. In her place, they brought in this newly graduated woman - Ms. Matsuishi - and expected us to just start learning from her. I was not cool with it at the start, but she was patient, funny and sweet to me until she broke down my walls, eventually encouraging me to help tutor other kids, one of whom became a close friend of mine for 30 years. It also helped (keep in mind this was the late ‘80s/early ‘90s) she took her well-performing students to Swensen's for bubble gum ice cream for helping in class and being kind to each other. All these years later, the now-proud mom of two and I are Facebook friends, and I still think of my time in that class fondly.
Annelise: My favorite teacher was Mrs. Whipp, my 7th grade language arts teacher. Her class was everyone’s favorite, and I was in awe of everything from her perfect handwriting to her witty sense of humor. One thing I remember most is that she always thought ahead to find ways to give students the best chance at learning, having tests and assignments due every Wednesday so we could at least have the weekends in between to study and work, if we so chose. At the end of my 7th grade year, Mrs. Whipp retired to stay at home with her two children, and I was secretly recruited among some of her favorite students to surprise her (and the entire 7th grade class) with a song and dance to send her off. One of the most memorable parts of it was our rendition of "Don’t Stop Believin'," which we rewrote to "Mrs. Whipp, We Love You.”
Autumn: Do you remember Ms. Frizzle (The Frizz), the teacher from The Magic School Bus? If so, that is what my 1st grade teacher Mrs. Spicer always reminded me of. No matter what we were learning or doing she always made class an adventure and fun. From amazing field trips to mystery box Fridays, every student could not wait to go to 1st grade because of Mrs. Spicer. One of my favorite field trips was to a horse stable near my hometown and to her house to ride and learn about the horses she raised.
Marissa: It is hard to narrow down a list of favorite teachers because I have been lucky to have many that have taught me much more than what you could find in a textbook. The first teacher to come to mind was my high school AP English teacher, Mr. Robert Conway. We all called him RobCon because there is no cooler nickname than combining a first and last name together. His teaching style was even cooler because he would come up with creative ways for the class to hold discussions to make our learning feel like a group effort. To get this creative energy flowing, every class began with a 10-minute conversation about some random artifact in his room like a collage of Stonehenge and a photo of Kissing the War Goodbye. Not only was this a fun way to dive into a conversation about what we were learning, it also showed us that when curiosity is encouraged, you can end up learning more than you originally would from any experience. RobCon was a teacher first and a friend second.
Jennifer: Mrs. Reichert was my all-time favorite teacher. She had an amazing ability to make each and every student feel valued and important. She rewarded small successes and made students feel like they could accomplish anything with hard work.