Do you have a favourite teacher? The one (or maybe more than one) who made the difference in your education? Perhaps it was a different approach to teaching (my grade six teacher, Mr. Zettle, helped me see that learning could be an adventure. He was enthusiastic about every subject and taught us integers by turning the lesson into a murder-mystery. Eight did it, by the way), or opening the door to new materials and ideas (a high school English teacher, Mr. Jonker, asked us to bring in a song and analyze it. Now, I’m not saying that listening to someone’s analysis of a Bob Seger song-Night Moves, I believe-was illuminating but we did learn to critically defend our choices. I can’t remember what song I brought in, although a safe bet would be Bruce Springsteen, probably Thunder Road. I would like to blame it on the 80s and living in a small town but that would be wrong. Also, it was the first time that I heard Robyn Hitchcock and that changed my life in a different way). Or a teacher or professor who gave you a wake up call (as Dr. Blanchard did in my 2nd year by reminding us of the importance of coming prepared for tutorials-that we were all in this together).
Carol Rolheiser, Director, CTSI, remembers a high school biology teacher who encouraged her to study science in university. They reconnected years later when she received a surprise fax after her name appeared the Faculty of Education Alumni Magazine.
Yes, it was my high school biology teacher – whom I had not been in touch with for 36 years! I eagerly called him and shared with him the influence he had been in my becoming a teacher. I let him know that the model he had set for me many years ago had helped shape my career. Even though it took 36 years for Dr. Nichol to get feedback from this student, I know it meant the world to him because he told me so. We continue to maintain our correspondence and share our respective love of learning.
The THANK YOUR TEACHER campaign is an initiative started by the 2011 3M National Teaching Fellows, in conjunction with the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Throughout this week, ads will appear in Canadian newspapers of 3M winners (please see Nick Mount‘s entry below) thanking teachers who have encouraged, challenged and inspired them. The goal of the campaign is not to simply highlight stories from award winning teachers but to hear from YOU. Much of the media of late has focused on the negative when discussing teaching, whether K-12 or higher ed, and this is an opportunity to remind, and remember, all those times and all those people who have had a positive influence on our lives.
Submit your story to THANK YOUR TEACHER