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.