Today Getting Smart is excited to celebrate World Teachers’ Day. We are firm believers that even as technology increases and classrooms as we know them transform, teachers will remain the most significant change agent in student success.

“On this day, we call for teachers to receive supportive environments, adequate quality training as well as ‘safeguards’ for teachers’ rights and responsibilities…We expect a lot from teachers – they, in turn, are right to expect as much from us. This World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity for all to take a stand.”  Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

In honor of great teachers around the world the Getting Smart team shares stories of inspirational teachers that have impacted each of us.

Tom’s Red Ink Inspiration

“My 7th grade English teacher didn’t worry about the ‘caught or taught’ debate-she instructed us in grammer, demanded a lot of writing and gave a lot of feedback (in the form of red ink). It was the first time I remember someone really caring about my work product.”

Karen’s Mixed Blessings Teacher

“My favorite teacher was my high school bible teacher, Pastor Boettcher.  He was equal parts stern and loving and understanding.  He took whatever grief high schoolers threw his way, yet loved them and guided them, educationally and spiritually.  I’m not sure he knew it but his nickname was God, and yes our favorite movie of that year (1977) was Oh God with George Burns and John Denver. “A funny feel good movie about a mixed blessing”.  I think Pastor Boettcher knew his students were all mixed blessings.”

Caroline’s Kick in the Pants

“After moving from Denver, CO to Federal Way, WA the summer before 5th grade I had a teacher that truly changed my life. I was having a tough time adjusting to the move and having my father as superintendent. Until that point I had also struggled in school because of my “talkative” nature that distracted myself and peers. Mr. Wezeman’s no nonsense approach to learning allowed each student to thrive and achieve. He would not allow the words “I can’t” in the classroom and helped students personalize their educational journey. He also introduced technology and insisted on a 4:1 ratio of computers in his classroom which was pretty rare in 1994. Although he was tough and pushed each of his students to do better every day, there was a deep level of compassion that shined through. Every student mattered.”

Sarah’s Ice Ice Baby Memory

“Looking back, I was lucky to have several great teachers over the years. I had an anatomy teacher in high school who brought the culture of coaching and team spirit from the football field to the classroom. I spent a month in France with a group of students in high school due to the dedication and hard work of my French teacher for four years. I remember the first college professor who ripped my writing to shreds and later gave me one of the best recommendations of my college career. There was also the department head who inspired me to get an economics minor after a journalistic interview for a 130-page report. I also look back the guidance I received during office hours that brought lessons to light that couldn’t be found in textbooks. These individuals shaped and impacted who and where I am – and so many other students they touched – today.

Yet, the teacher who stands out to me is my sophomore history teacher whose World War II lesson to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” still gets stuck in my head. She brought history books alive, challenged us to truly internalize and understand the events that shape the world today. Yet, most of all – she taught us to question and listen to a moral compass in a chaotic world that throughout history has fallen off a positive path. She groomed global citizens with lessons that engaged and inspired us. When I think of great teachers, Mrs. Jane Siemens-Neary always comes to mind.

I feel so grateful for all the guidance and support I’ve received over the years. Thank you teachers!”

Carri’s Genius & Guide

“My favorite teacher was my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Bill Richey. He was equal parts genius and guide–always pushing us to see beyond our own limits.  Not only did he help me beat my math phobia, he also helped me to become the first person in my family to go to college and was a central part of my decision to become an educator.”

Allison’s Beyond the Classroom Teacher

“My favorite teacher in Junior High wasn’t really “my” teacher – she was a teacher at the school and acted as our cheer/dance coach, Mrs. Healey. The things I learned from her went far beyond anything in a text book. She taught me dedication, compassion and the importance of loyalty. She opened herself up to us beyond our team and it meant the world to me to know that she was always there for me.”

Photo courtesy of BigStock.

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