Posts Tagged 'Celebration of Teaching'
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Educational Policy and Leadership, leadership, Melinda Skrade
Tags: Brian Weisse, Celebration of Teaching, Mariclare Kanaley, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, student teaching
By Mariclare Kanaley – The first time I met Mr. Brian Weisse, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
It was the spring of 2011– the end of the semester just before I was to start my student teaching; he was assigned to be my cooperating teacher, or “co-op,” as I called him. I got lost on my way to the school for my first meeting with him, couldn’t find the front door, and my only assignment for that day was to “bring a lot of bags” to carry all the books he was going to give me.
In our introductory meeting at Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, he spoke of the ‘international baccalaureate’ and ‘20th Century Grading’ and ‘internal assessments’ – all things I’d come to know quite well over the next few months, but had no clue about then. He sent me off with a bunch of papers and books (as promised) and I left in a small panic, overwhelmed by the unexpected.
I spent the summer of 2011 worrying about how to run my classroom, how much help I’d need, and to be honest, whether I really wanted to be a teacher after all. I’m pretty sure I e-mailed Mr. Weisse daily with questions. I sent him rough drafts and copies of assignments and rubrics, to which he assured me that I’d do just fine and that maybe I should calm down. It was that advice that he offered in many different ways throughout those 5 months. The version that stuck with me most was, “Mariclare, take the Bobby McFerrin approach to teaching… Don’t worry, be happy. If you worry, well… you’ll die.”
Needless to say, I adopted his approach to teaching. I spent the semester learning from the best teacher I’d ever had. I learned that I loved every minute of my job, from the frozen computer screens with lost, unsaved documents to the extensive IB Psyc essays whose grading kept me late. Brian Weisse showed me, quite clearly, why I want to be a teacher, and demonstrated the meaning of this irrepressible love for learning – something I always knew I had, but never had the words for. He did this all without even knowing it had been done.
My student teaching experience was exemplified by a collaboration I hadn’t known before. I admired the excitement Brian brought to his classes and the knowledge he had of his content. I admired the respect he demanded of his students and the ease with which he taught. I admired the fun he created in his classroom and the contagious joy and care endlessly present in room 301. Mostly, I admired the passion he showed for the field of education and the tenacity with which he spoke of his beliefs. It was in that classroom that I found my love for teaching, which is a gift of inordinate value.
I’d like to thank you, Brian, for being the teacher to dispel my disillusionment and bewilderment. Your gift has inspired a journey, and I can only hope to someday share the gift that you so graciously shared with me.
Mariclare Kanaley, EDUC ’11, was a Secondary Education, Psychology, and Broad Field Social Studies major. She is currently employed at Shorewood Intermediate School. Her future plans include attending graduate school in Forensic Psychology to research and develop preventative strategies to help improve the success of at-risk youth in both academic and social settings.
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Mr. Harry Graff, teaching
By Bill Henk – Somehow it’s only fitting that I use words to honor Harry Graff. He was an extraordinary English teacher after all. But he was so VERY much more.
During my senior year in high school, I had the privilege of experiencing one of Mr. Graff’s classes. You’ll notice that I didn’t say “being in” or “sitting in” his class, because that’s not what students did there. His classroom was vibrant and fun, and learning occurred so naturally and joyously that we almost failed to notice. It didn’t feel like work at all. We were fully engaged academically, socially. and emotionally.
Now, as I write this tribute, I realize that my words can’t hope to do justice to the inspiration Mr. Graff provided — to me, my classmates, and thousands of other lucky students over the course of his 36-year career. Nearly all of us were low-middle class, blue-collar kids growing up in three of the less idyllic suburbs of Pittsburgh.
Those of us who aspired to college would usually be the first in our families, and we could tell he enjoyed teaching and encouraging us. Some of the students who didn’t have those dreams, though, were pretty tough kids, and many ended up in Mr. Graff’s classes, too. Other students were afraid of them (and probably some of the teachers, too), but he wasn’t — or at least he never showed it. We called these kids “hoods” back then, and they intimidated pretty much everyone.
But they never “jerked” Mr. Graff around. And believe me they could have.
He was one of the few teachers spared their chronic misbehavior. The others who escaped were big, brawny, gruff, Cro-Magnon men — the no-nonsense type with a powerful teaching presence. They could put the fear of God in you with one look. You didn’t learn much in those classes; you just behaved. But that’s not how Mr. Graff kept his challenging students in line.
Instead he somehow managed to strip away the harsh veneers of the hoods with love, respect, and kindness. Nothing more. The sheer force of his humanity overpowered them. When they realized how much he genuinely cared, they cared about him right back. And he also kept seniors like me, who were quite full of themselves, on track, under control, and feeling cherished.
You know, I looked forward to that class EVERY single day. It didn’t matter what we were studying. I would have endured almost anything to be there learning from him – God awful grammar, crusty old literature, and mystifying poetry. He made sure even that off-putting stuff came alive within his four walls.
I’ll conclude below with the words I’d use to describe Mr. Graff in a wordle or word cloud if you will. He’d like that. And it’s probably better than my clumsy writing up to this point. But before I do, let me share the story of the last time I saw him, because it’s telling.
One Last Time
More than 30 years after graduating, in 2001, I visited my old high school. I went there to see my sister, who worked in the business office at that time. Mr. Graff’s name came up, and she asked if I wanted to see him. She told me it would be his last year of teaching. For some reason, I hesitated, maybe fearing that the magic would be gone, but thankfully I got over that concern and decided to go. It occurred to me that due to time and distance I might never see him again if I didn’t.
On the way, I imagined the look of surprise on his face when I revealed my identity. That’s because I had grown more than six inches and put on more than 50 pounds in the time since I graduated. And I’m almost certain he didn’t know my sister and I were related, because she had a different married name.
Anyway, after we reached the second floor, she knocked on his door, and he emerged, clearly looking older, but with the same loving smile on his face that I remembered so well. “I have someone I want you to meet,” my sister said.
Before another second passed, he blurted out, “Billy Henk, class of 1970, sixth period, second row, fifth seat.” And then he started naming all of the other kids in the class, where they sat, and the highlights of that year.
His remarks stunned me, especially when I realized that he was exactly right. Talk about a priceless moment. We chatted pleasantly for a short while, and he seemed very proud that I had gone on to become an English teacher and later a college professor. He needed to get back to his class, though, so we wished each other well and parted ways.
A Consummate Teacher
Afterwards I wondered how in the world Mr. Graff could have remembered so much. It should have been obvious.
He had never approached teaching as a job. At a minimum he treated it as a profession. But it was much more to him — it was a labor of love, his very identity, his calling.
At Marquette, we train teachers to “Be The Difference.” That was Mr. Graff’s lived experience.
The multitude of students he had touched over the years were the fabric of his life, and he would leave all of them, including me — a veteran educator in my own right — thoroughly transformed and with the fondest of school memories. I’ll bet every one of us would describe him similarly to the way I’ve done just above on the right.
Harry Graff was an extraordinary human being after all.
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Claudia Felske, Mrs. Tanzer, teachers, teaching
1. I’m smart and creative.
2. The world is an infinitely interesting place.
3. Life’s about learning and growing and never stopping either one.
I’m smart and creative.
The second youngest of 8, called “Klein” by many instead of Claudia, I was expected by my teachers to be a good student and an even better athlete, a mini-version of my older siblings.
Mrs. Tanzer, however, saw me as an individual, not just as a Klein. She marked my essays with phrases such as “lovely metaphor,” “profound!” “interesting perspective” unlike my previous English teacher whose sole aim was to circle every punctuation error. Reading her comments made me feel interesting, insightful, witty, and I proceeded accordingly.
My family’s expectations molded me into a 3-sport athlete though Mrs. Tanzer saw in me a glimmer of creativity, asking me to do the publicity for her drama productions. Though I wasn’t one dubbed “the artist” in my family, she complimented me on my precise lettering and artful arrangements of shape, color and text for the actor bios. It was the first time I felt the least bit artistic, and I liked the feeling. Seeing my interest sparked, she encouraged me to participate in Forensics, something that had never been on my radar, but ended up being my favorite high school activity.
Under her direction, I went from being a wiggly-voiced introvert to being a power round orator.
The world’s an infinitely interesting place.
I first met her in the guidance office after I’d been kicked out of Sophomore English class for “reading upside down.” My teacher at the time had been reading A Separate Piece aloud at a pace I found excruciatingly slow. To keep my brain active, I followed along, with my book flipped upside down: an act he viewed as insubordination and I viewed as mental survival. When he told me I’d never get an A in his class because of my attitude, I left, and there was Mrs. Tanzer who just happened to be in the guidance office. In hindsight, it seems a fated meeting as within a few short years, English went from upside-down reading to my career of choice.
I’d listen to her in class, mesmerized, as she described the Dionysian rituals of the Greek theatre, as we picked apart “Ozymondias” and Antigone. These weren’t just stories and characters; they were opportunities for us to think about life, to talk about why we’re here, to marvel at the artistry of words. I’d jot her words and phrases in my notebook margins, wanting to make them my own, wanting to command words and ideas and stories like she did.
Her “tangents” as a few of my more no-nonsense friends called them, to me, were windows to the world: its ideas, its contradictions, its stories. They married my learning to the interesting. “Bibliophile” sticks out in my mind as my favorite Mrs. Tanzer word and tangent and not just because I am one. “There are two types of bibliophiles,” she declared, ”those that write in their books because they love them so much, and those who can’t write in their books because they love them so much. I am the former; my husband’s the latter.” She went on to describe their book habits. I loved knowing this insider info, and forevermore the word, its roots, and that quote would live in my head.
Life’s about learning and growing and never stopping either one.
She taught me to do my best, always. She encouraged us to write and rewrite. And for her, I wanted to turn in nothing but my best. And so, senior year, the last day before Christmas break, I sat in the cafeteria, alone, revising an essay while the rest of the school was at the talent show. She accepted my revision after school, but then lightly scolded me for missing her performance as Cyndi Lauper singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – ironic since that’s precisely what she wanted me to have. She wanted excellence, but she also wanted us to enjoy life. It’s what we now call teaching the whole child. Her lessons extended far beyond the classroom walls.
When we were Seniors, we went to see her act in a community play. What couldn’t she do? What wasn’t she reading or trying or talking about? I wanted to be this alive.
When I entered college and she became a mentor and a friend, the teaching never stopped. She asked me to coach forensics when I was still an undergraduate. It was during those coaching experiences that I knew I’d become a teacher.
When I dig to the roots of the most worthwhile professional paths, there stands Mrs. Tanzer. When I began teaching AP English, she encouraged me to join the AP listserve, where I became one of a large and generous community of learners. Later, she encouraged me to become an AP reader, describing it as the best professional development out there.
She was right. A few years ago, the phone rang, and she asked me to co-author a book for AP English Teachers with her. Under her tutelage I went from developing a new AP English class at my school to writing the book for it.
She keeps growing; it’s what she does. Just this year, she started taking dance lessons with her husband, and performing competitively. She has never stopped learning, and now, in “retirement,” she’s teaching as much as ever, proposing new curriculums, spearheading several writing projects. She’s more vital than ever. An unwavering commitment to life and to learning.
That’s really all she taught me.
2010 High School Teacher of the Year, Claudia Felske, graduated from Marquette with a bachelor of arts degree in Writing Intensive English. She earned her teaching certificate and a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A Nationally Board Certified Teacher and published author, Felske teaches grades 9-12 English and serves as English Department Chair at East Troy High School in the East Troy Community School District.
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Miss Bleaks, Mr. Root, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Scaefer, Victoria Fitzgerald
By Dr. Victoria Fitzgerald – How do ever fully repay someone who saves your life not once—but thousands of times? Or gives you the gift of sight, strength, speech and communication, or a fulfilling passion for your life?
Perhaps the only repayment (and one these individuals may never directly or fully know) is thankful remembrance. Those gifts were bestowed upon me as a young woman (age 13-17) by a group of incredible teachers at Stephen Decatur High School–an urban school with a diverse student population of over 2000. These individuals— skilled as educators and joyful in their chosen disciplines—have blessed me to this very day (over 40 years later)!
My life saver was Mr. Root—a driver’s education teacher. His excellent driving instruction—especially his admonition to “never trust the car mirrors” (avoiding vehicle blind spots) has saved my life (literally!) thousands of times. I always say a little prayer of thanksgiving for his diligence and patience with me and the countless other young drivers in his care.
The giver of sight and strength was Miss Bleaks—my art teacher. She challenged me to not only use my physical eyes but also the “eyes of my mind” to think broadly about all the amazing sights around me that could be inspiration points for creative thoughts and outcomes. She challenged me to strengthen my mind by learning the vocabulary and history of art, so that I could view and discuss creative works supported by this deeper knowledge. She also taught me and other students that there is freedom in the arts that is honed by the discipline of practice (weekly sketch books were always due on Friday!) and by her own example of continuing her life as an artist through her painting and jewelry making. Whenever I contemplate beautiful art works in museums, find joy and outlet in drawing and creative arts that I still do today—her gifts continue to enrich my life.
Two individuals that set my voice free (in written and spoken communication) were Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Schaefer.
Mrs. Baker, who taught Latin, was a mentor to me and those who stayed with her for four years. She began by assessing our abilities and weaknesses in English and then layered the new skills of the Latin language onto this strengthened foundation of grammar and structure. I’m still benefitting today from that solid foundation in writing and language study that she crafted.
Mrs. Schaefer (speech and drama teacher) was also a very skilled instructor that had a passion for her discipline that inspired students. Despite her petite size (barely five feet) she could command a room with her voice or a glance that made her seem like a giant. She encouraged me and many others to pursue theatre academically and professionally –wonderfully equipped with confidence and poise in performance and public speaking gained through her classes and play productions. She also nurtured my goal of becoming a secondary teacher when she allowed me to come back to her classes after high-school graduation and do my pre-service field observations. Her support, enthusiasm, and faith in me helped me attain many fulfilling years as a speech and drama instructor.
This passion for life and teaching in their chosen disciplines is the common thread that emerges as I reflect on the life-giving impact of my high-school teachers. They’ve continued to bless me with the gifts of sight, strength, voice, and passion for life. And as I drive home at the end of this day, I’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving for Mr. Root saving my life (again) as I remember “not to trust my mirrors” in traffic!
Vicki Fitzgerald is currently Assistant Dean for College Operations in the College of Education at Marquette University. She continues to pursue her love of teaching, education, and the creative arts in the Milwaukee area. To learn more about how she’s applied the gifts from her high-school mentors, follow this link: http://www.marquette.edu/education/faculty_staff/Fitzgerald.shtml .
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Jacqueline Boratyn, Joe Jekot, psychology teacher
By Jacqueline Boratyn – When I think of what it means to be a teacher, the first person that comes to mind is my high school psychology teacher Mr. Joe Jekot.
I will never forget my 9th period class, sitting in the 3rd row, windows to my left and my best friend, Maria, to my right. We passed notes during lectures thinking he never noticed. And we also watched movies that, even today, I often recall when we talk about psychology in my courses at Marquette.
There have been days when I come back from class feeling lost, and end up e-mailing Mr. Jekot, who is always happy to help. Mr. Jekot has always been a teacher who truly cares for each and every one of his students. He goes out of his way to find out how people are doing, how their days are going, and even reaches out to keep in touch with alumni– all qualities which I find to be very important assets in being a great teacher. After all, it’s nice to graduate high school (or any school for that matter) and know that someone who saw you for 45 minutes a day 5 days a week continues to care about you even after years of not being in their class.
Mr. Jekot is also a phenomenal storyteller; it’s one of his many amazing talents. If a story he was telling didn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, his balloon characters (shapes, hats, animals, cartoons…you name it) were sure to make you smile on your birthday, and his jokes were sure one of a kind. His unique way of teaching through more than just lectures and instead reaching inside of each student and showing them their true potential made me truly realize that being a teacher is more than simply teaching; it’s being a friend, a person to lean on, and a trustworthy adult.
Through Mr. Jekot’s experiences and knowledge being passed to me using rare tactics, he inspires me to reach deep inside my heart, never give up, and always do my best academically, socially, and spiritually. He defined for me what it meant to be teacher, and always made me believe that if that was what I really wanted to do with my life, by putting my heart and soul into it (and not listening to the negative comments or snide remarks of others) I could be a great teacher who makes a significant change in the lives of my students, just as he did for me.
Jacqueline Boratyn is a Secondary Education and English double major at Marquette. Her hometown is Chicago Illinois where she attended high school and was friends with the children of the infamous Michael Jordan. Jackie is passionate about writing, and hopes one day to inspire her students to enjoy the process as much as she does. She also harbors a love for languages, having grown up speaking English and Polish while also studying Spanish in school. She travels as often as possible, catering to the belief that leaving your comfort zone is the only way to really get to know oneself and the world around you. Jackie is spending summer 2012 studying in Rome and traveling across Europe.
Tags: Andrea Loss, Celebration of Teaching, Nick McDaniels, Washington High School
Among those teachers who have dramatically affected me personally and professionally is my former supervising teacher, Mrs. Andrea Loss.
Mrs. Loss took me under her wing when I was a fledgling student teacher at Milwaukee’s Washington High School. The school has many great students and teachers, but as anyone who has taught or visited there will tell you, WHS is not an easy place for any teacher to be considered highly effective, let alone a new teacher. However, Mrs. Loss somehow made it look easy and helped to give me to confidence to not only endure my student teaching experience–as some are forced to–but love every minute of it.
Mrs. Loss is among the most caring and compassionate teachers I have ever met. She has an incredible ability to view all students as lovable children, which, as most teachers working in similar conditions will tell you, is not always easy. Somehow, through the chaos that plagues almost any urban school–issues of absenteeism, violence, crime, substance abuse–Mrs. Loss instilled in me the faith that ALL students–no matter their occasional harshness–are good, and that kindness and compassion is exactly what is needed to succeed in such an environment.
The classroom culture she creates is one that I have tried to mimic in my own classroom. It is a culture that any teacher should envy. It is a place where students want to be before and after school and during periods that are not even theirs. Her ability to get students, many of whom have major trust issues, to trust her is what makes her so successful–because ultimately, you can’t teach English if you can’t teach children.
Aside from Mrs. Loss’s teaching abilities, her ability to support me as a young teacher was instrumental to my current success. She gradually released me to have more control of the classes as the semester went on, while constantly giving me advice and tips to improve my teaching.
Most importantly, though, Mrs. Loss showed the same care and compassion to me as she shows to her students. She helped me through my final semester in college, helped me find housing for an additional month of student teaching, gave me advice about life, love, and whatever I needed. Not only was she there for me to help me become a competent young teacher, but she helped prepare for the quick transition between the blissful world of college and adulthood.
Today, Mrs. Loss and I still communicate. For that I am grateful, because not only was she a terrific mentor teacher, but she is now someone I consider a dear friend. She’d be proud to know that, on a daily basis, I call many of my students by some of the same terms of endearment by which she also addresses her students. The relationships I have been able to form with students that many teachers do not even wish teach are those that, using Mrs. Loss’s modeling, have made an incredible difference in the lives of my students and in mine as well.
So then, it is on behalf of my students, my family, and of course, myself, that I offer a sincere thank you to Mrs. Andrea Loss, a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend.
Nick McDaniels teaches High School English in Baltimore, MD where he serves as a union building representative and member of Baltimore City Teachers for the Environment. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, Amie, his daughter, Charlie, his dog, Jackson, and his four chickens. He graduated from Marquette in 2009 with majors in English and Secondary Education, and a minor in Environmental Ethics. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision at Johns Hopkins University.
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Katie Doyle, Mr. Penn
By Katie Doyle – I didn’t always want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a journalist or an actress or a businesswoman or anything else, really. I had never actually considered teaching until I was in the 11th grade.
I was talking to Mr. Penn, an English teacher in my high school and the advisor of our school newspaper. I was reaching the time when I needed to start applying to college, or at least start thinking of a career path. “You should teach,” he told me.
I’ll never forget that. It was simple advice, but it has always stuck with me. Mr. Penn was an incredible teacher and mentor to me during my high school years. He was kind, thoughtful, and encouraging. He cultivated critical thinkers and talented writers. He took the classroom beyond just a study of literature and allowed his students to interpret stories in their own way.
He was one of my favorite teachers, and his belief in my ability to teach had a profound impact on me. He made me believe in myself, and I began to explore the idea of becoming a teacher.
I lost touch with Mr. Penn over the years. He retired the same year I graduated, and he moved somewhere warm, I think. But I will always remember the man who inspired me to pursue this path in my life. He was a teacher who genuinely valued critical thinking, creativity, and gumption. He made all of us better students and better people. With this post, I celebrate Mr. Penn, a truly great teacher.
Katie Doyle is a Milwaukee-area native and a Spring 2012 graduate of Marquette where she majored in Middle/Secondary Education and Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture. She studied in Madrid, Spain during her sophomore year and did her student teaching at Nicolet High School. Katie is passionate about social justice and all things Spanish. Katie will be serving with City Year – San Jose/Silicon Valley for the 2012-2013 school year to improve literacy and graduation rates in San José, California.
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Math Teacher, mathematics, Mrs. Patricia Heim, Sabrina Bong
By Sabrina Bong – When I was in seventh grade, I was certain of two things: that NSync made the best music ever, and that math was the worst subject in the world. My feelings on math only intensified as I began learning algebra.
What kind of person would put letters in a math equation? It seemed like a cruel trick to anyone who disliked the subject. It wasn’t that I was particularly bad at math – I got pretty good grades in it – but since it took longer for me to process and understand, I hated it.
One day, my math teacher asked me to stay a little longer after class to speak with her. I was deathly afraid that she was going to tell me I had just failed a test, or that I clearly wasn’t understanding the concepts. But instead, she asked if I would be willing to tutor a student in math. He was failing the class, and really struggling to understand basic principles.
Mrs. Patricia Heim had been my favorite teacher ever since I started middle school. She was a teacher who truly believed in all of her students, and pushed each of us to achieve our maximum potential. She never just gave us the answers; she made us find the answers. If we went up to her and complained that we didn’t understand a certain math problem, she would walk us through a problem that was very similar and then have us do the original problem on our own. She would spend countless hours after school helping students out. Perhaps I felt the need to say “yes” to helping the student because she had helped me so much.
“I don’t like math though,” I reminded her.
She reminded me that even though I didn’t like math, I still got excellent grades in it. “You may not like it, but you’re good at it,” she said. “And this would really help me out as well.”
I am happy to say that the student I helped passed math that year. But I also learned a valuable lesson. I had started off tutoring the student as a favor for my teacher. What ended up happening was that I realized how much I really love teaching others. It is true what teachers say: there is no greater reward than seeing a student’s face light up when he or she finally understand a concept that they had struggled to understand. Seeing that student’s face when he came in to tell me that he had passed math was incredible.
I am not sure if Mrs. Heim meant to pass on her love of teaching, but she did. She inspired me to continue working with students and help them achieve their best. I hope she would be happy to hear that I continued to tutor in math through high school and college. Now, as a future school counselor, I still work a lot with students and push them to succeed.
Thank you, Mrs. Heim, for showing me how wonderful teaching can be!
Sabrina Bong recently finished her first year of graduate school at Marquette. She is working towards a Master’s in School Counseling. Sabrina also graduated from Marquette in 2011 with degrees in Psychology and Broadcast and Electronic Communication.
Tags: Celebration of Teaching, Eliza Buffington, French teacher, Madame Selime Baftiri Ballazhi, Tinley Park High School
By Eliza Buffington – I want to especially thank Selime Baftiri Ballazhi, my high school French teacher, who is not only an incredible foreign language teacher, but someone who makes a difference in our world.
I attended Tinley Park High School, a wonderfully diverse high school in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park where I had many exceptional teachers that challenged, encouraged, and shaped me.
I was blessed to be in Madame Baftiri’s French class for the first three years of high school. During that time she taught me a new language, about cultures, study habits and strategies, and she even taught me about myself. It wasn’t just what she taught, but how she taught it.
I could reminisce about all the fun, hilarious, and impactful moments I had in her class, but I think the thing that really sets her apart from any other teacher I have loved is the earnestness in her teaching. There is a quote from the novel, On the Road, which goes “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” The only addition that needs to be made for Madame Baftiri is “mad to teach”.
If ever there was anyone born to teach, it is Madame Baftiri. She has the passion and desire to give so much of herself to others that it is hard to be in her class without striving to be a better student and person.
In addition to teaching, she also runs Seekers Club which she describes below:
“Seekers Club was created by me in 2000 at Tinley Park H.S. and it has served as an opportunity for our very culturally diverse student body to learn about each other’s backgrounds, as well as world events that affect all of us. It is my firm belief that through knowledge and acknowledgment and respect for other cultures, we can better understand one another and thus create a more peaceful student body and world.
Some of the activities that we have created and participated in have included cultural presentations on the Laotian, Filipino, Nigerian, Polish, German, Belgian, Pakistani, Jordanian, Palestinian, Albanian, African-American, French, Mexican, Chinese, as well as many other countries from where many of our students come or parents’ have emigrated.
In addition to experiencing culture within our school walls through after school presentations, Seekers has hosted six International Festivals here at Tinley Park High School. The festivals have included food, dance and art from different cultures, including henna tattoos, as well as poetry (original and classic) read in different languages.”
Here is a clip from the 2009 International Festival:
Madame Baftiri has dedicated so much of herself to educating my community on the people it is comprised of and the world it finds itself in, which is no small task. She is truly an original and the woman I aspire to be.
Eliza Buffington is majoring in Secondary Education and Mathematics. She will graduate from Marquette University in December of 2013 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. She is a woman of many obsessions- mathematics, moving to New York City, Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan.