By Matt Olinski — I had been thinking about this topic for awhile and then ironically enough, as part of an in-service it came up again.
Who was my favorite teacher? That is a tough question, which I’m not even going to answer; however, it got me thinking, and I began to remember as many of my teachers as I could. I can clearly remember all of my elementary teachers. I can even remember my principal, Mr. Pautz. I can remember a few of my middle school teachers. I can remember all of my high school social studies teachers, which isn’t too surprising seeing as that is now what I teach.
I think my elementary teachers, and all elementary teachers in general, have a major impact of the early education of students. My mom retired from the Milwaukee Public Schools as an elementary teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students. I admit this, even being a high school teacher, that these elementary teachers taught me and had an impact on me to a degree that even 25 – 30 years after being in elementary school I can remember specific things about those teachers.
This is my chance to say thank you for those teachers in a small way, something I encourage everyone to do sooner rather than later.
My first grade teacher, Ms. Bushier was new to the school and new to teaching at the time, yet she taught me the basics of reading through phonics and math. I also remember sitting on the ground while we read stories.
My second grade teacher, Mrs. Obst, who was a veteran teacher when I was in her class, apparently was teaching long after I had already left her room. I remember having a really messy desk in 2nd grade and I remember a jar of Jelly Bellies on Mrs. Obst’s front desk.
I have to admit that my 3rd grade teacher was really good. 3rd grade is when I had to start wearing glasses for the first time and I dreaded it. It was not the fashion statement it is now to wear glasses. I was horrified. I found out from some of my friends later on that Mrs. Strong had made sure that I wasn’t teased for wearing glasses. I really appreciate that now, and I appreciated it back then.
Mr. Garvins was my 4th grade teacher. I got my first perfect report card of all A’s in his class, and believe me, that was not an easy task. I also remember going to the computer lab for the first time, which was a novelty if you take into consideration that this was 1986.
In 5th grade I was in Mrs. Collins’s class. I remember being one of those students who some of you might get frustrated with, and my desk was moved a few times during that year. I also went to Mrs. Bennett for my reading class. Looking back, and even at the time, I knew that this was the upper level reading class. Mrs. Bennett was a tough teacher, but she really had an impact on us for learning reading.
For all of you elementary teachers out there, know that you have a larger impact on your students than you may ever know, and even the screwball kid who gets his desk moved a few times really looks back in fondness for all the learning that took place.