From what I remember about school, there are three types of teachers. There are the good ones, the ones who take the time to connect with you and are passionate about their work. Then there are also the bad ones. They leave an impression for basically the opposite reason. Perhaps they are good educators but kind of jerks, or perhaps they’re nice enough but you don’t learn anything. Worse, maybe they’re both incompetent and mean, pulling you away from laughing with your friends to ask you if you enjoy being mean (seriously, where the hell did that come from?). Finally there are the ones that don’t leave an impression either way. I’d talk more about this kind but I don’t remember much about them.
No matter the variety, each teacher has done something to shape you. But for most, good, bad, or indifferent, it’s just a dent. For example, I remember all the way back to kindergarten, where the teacher was a good one, if strangely uptight about some things. She affected me, yes, just not to the degree of, say, my fourth grade teacher (in terms of ugh, e-gad!) or my eleventh grade English teacher (best ever, by the way).
My point is that teachers are extremely influential people. My not-remarkable teacher is another’s great one, or maybe someone’s biggest frustration. The worst teacher I ever had may have actually had a positive impact on someone’s life (although for various reasons I won’t get into that involve some very bad stuff, I strongly doubt it). And as the holiday season approaches, perhaps it would be nice to do something in memory of a teacher (a donation to an educational organization) or if you have school age children, one of their teachers (not a scented candle; from what I heard, that’s the go-to gift and they have enough to get them through power-outages for the rest of their lives).
What were our most influential teachers and what lessons did you carry away? If you’re a teacher, what kind of gift do you suggest?