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The Best Teacher I Ever Had

Back-to-school season is in full swing, so we think it’s a good time to revisit one of our tried-and-true Operation Warm blog topics to get us all ready to say goodbye to summer days and hello again to yellow buses, recess bells, and (fingers crossed) no more Zoom lessons.  OW staff members share how teachers impacted their lives in positive and meaningful ways and, in turn, set them up for success.

The Best Teacher I Ever Had Was Always There 

My kindergarten class was the first class my teacher ever taught. While I don’t remember much about that specific year, in all the milestones to come, she was always there, watching my class grow up. From graduation of kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and 12 years later at our high school graduation, she came to each one. She even brought us back to our original kindergarten classroom to celebrate how proud she was of us.  

She was always a constant, and through all the changes that come with growing up, it was encouraging to know there was always a teacher there and rooting for you. Spencer Manin

The Best Teacher I Ever Had Made Me Want to Make a Difference

Mr. Andrew Battend had a way of inspiring us to think beyond the classroom. In eighth grade, he told us to write an essay on the different meanings of the statement “We are living history.” It has been 20 years, yet I still think of that assignment. He also got me to understand the power of consequences in the real world. In retrospect, it really inspired my interest in public policy. Thanks, Mr. Battend! Grace Sica

The Best Teacher I Ever Had Influenced My Career

Mr. H was a FLEX program social studies teacher in Birmingham MI. He taught a course on media, which turned me on to the writings of Marshall McCluhan (The Medium is the Message, The Global Village, The Guttenberg Galaxy), which led me to a career in advertising. He challenged me to be a more creative thinker and a better writer. A very stimulating teacher who impacted my life in ways he will never know. Rich Lalley

The Best Teacher I Ever Had taught Me the Importance of High Standards

In the seventh grade, I had a very strict and demanding teacher as our Language Arts teacher. She was one of the hardest teachers I ever had, but in hindsight, I realize she is the person I learned the most from in school. She took learning seriously, and she held us accountable for our homework assignments and test scores.  There were no shortcuts to be taken in her class. She taught us the importance of proper grammar, and she made sure we understood our prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.  We practiced diagramming sentences until we could do it in our sleep!  As I grew older, I understood the importance of correct grammar and strong writing skills.  I am forever thankful for Sister Saint Kevin’s devotion to teaching and for the high standard she expected each of us to attain. Claire Finfrock

The Best Teacher I Ever Had Made Me Feel Like Part of The Team

I grew up a very shy, quiet kid. Frankly, I still struggle from time to time with speaking up. I still remember my first-grade teacher, Mr. Fries (pronounced freeze), who went out of his way to get me out of my shell. He coached a basketball team at Cinnaminson High School in NJ and, knowing I loved playing sports, invited me to watch them play. Throughout their season, I would go to games with my parents, and Mr. Fries was always incredibly friendly and outgoing. He would often take me down and let me sit on the bench with the players during the games. He gave me that “part of the team” feeling that greatly increased my confidence and self-worth as a person. I still love playing and watching sports but ironically, I’m terrible at Basketball. Josh Halsey

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