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Teachers can have a huge impact on your life

Posted Friday, June 17, 2011, at 8:28 AM

While looking through a box of old pictures my mom gave me, I came across a lot more than photos -- such as pictures I had drawn and notes I had written my mom as a young child, report cards, and standardized testing scores.

I smiled -- inside and outside -- realizing my mom kept those things for all these years. I felt so special and loved that the things meant so much to her to keep them.

Then, I came across a journal written in elementary school.

I think every student leaves school having at least one teacher impact their lives. Fortunately, I had several great teachers while attending Shakamak, many of whom taught me valuable lessons -- educational and life lessons -- that continue to impact my life.

The journal helped spark the idea for this blog about influential teachers I've had over the years. So often we hear about the things teachers don't do, I thought it'd be nice to acknowledge some teachers for positive things.

The journal was written in the spring of 1988 when I was a second grader in Linda Salter's class at Shakamak Elementary School. As a class project, we were hatching chicks. The journal entries tracked the progress of the eggs and even included a birth announcement when the first chick hatched.

I was born in a family who loved reading. So many people passed their love of reading to me. Another person who taught me the importance of reading and helped feed my love for reading was Mrs. Salter. It was in her second-grade class that I first read E.B. White's Charlotte's Web.

I was thrilled this past school year when my daughter -- then second-grader -- began reading the book. That was the first of many books I have enjoyed over the years. Thank you, Mrs. Salter for helping spark my love of reading -- a love I have thoroughly enjoyed passing along to my kids.

Along with my love for reading, I've always had a love for writing.

Miss Donna Gorby was truly inspirational to me as a writer. I was fortunate enough to have her for English my junior and senior year and in yearbook and newspaper my senior year. While writing was one thing that came relatively easy to me, Miss Gorby always challenged me and pushed me, thus making me a better writer. While enrolled in her newspaper class, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. Because of Miss Gorby, I attended Indiana State University and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Miss Gorby kept all the writing assignments we did in her senior level English class. At the end of the year, we labeled our work with what particular type of writing it was to refer to in college. I not only referred to that folder of writing during my college days, but I also referred to it this year while helping my cousin on a high school writing assignment.

As a big project in her senior English class, we created a community as a class -- we named ours Slim Shady Acres (apparently there were a lot of Eminem fans in my class). We all created a certain landmark in the community such as a grocery store, church, or gas station. The bulk of the assignment was the creation of a character -- my character's name was Brooklyn Jones ... ironically my first born is named Brooklyn. We did in-depth character sketches and eventually wrote a story about our character, while including a couple of characters created by our classmates. At the end of the project, Miss Gorby presented everyone with a book containing all the stories written by our class. I still have that book. While reading over the stories several years ago, my husband -- a then fifth-grade teacher -- became intrigued. I gave him the basics on the project. He's since adapted it for his fifth-grade students.

While beginning my career at the then Linton Daily Citizen, I received a card from Miss Gorby. She wrote about how proud she was of me. It meant so much to me. In fact, I still have the card tucked away.

I will never be able to thank Miss Gorby enough for everything she did for me. I can without a doubt say she was one of the best teachers I ever had.

A love for science is something I've never had; however, I really enjoyed my biology class in high school with Mr. Richard Monday. While Mr. Monday's classes are notorious for being tough, they're also great at preparing students for college. Mr. Monday taught us so many things -- such as taking notes and getting used to lectures -- which proved so beneficial in college.

Plus, Mr. Monday was just an awesome teacher. He truly cared about his students as people and as students. On days when I was in a bad mood, I always left Mr. Monday's class in a good mood. He had such a special way of relating to his students.

The education world would be so much better if there were more teachers like Mrs. Salter, Miss Gorby, and Mr. Monday.

What teachers impacted your life?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Mrs. Borders -- WRV High School English Teacher

-- Posted by TraceyLinneweber on Fri, Jun 17, 2011, at 4:29 PM

Miss Gorby @ Shakamak

-- Posted by PunkysMommy on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 12:42 AM

Great entry, Halea. Mine are Mr. Monday, Ms. Gorby, Mrs. Rogers, Mr. Bonham, Mrs. Spencer, Mrs. Gerber, Mr. Hobbs, Mrs. West, and Mrs. Neal.

-- Posted by drewlandry on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 11:41 AM

Richard Monday, Agnes Sloan, Willard Wier, Carl Borders. Obviously, I went to Shakamak also. Of course, that was back in the dark ages.

Your article is nicely written and reflects the different needs of different students.

-- Posted by yet another voice on Wed, Jun 22, 2011, at 7:17 PM

At Linton...

Mrs. Herman- Senior English- She made this hater of English work his absolute hardest, while still having a good time. I was so proud of a B- in her class...then I went to college and had all A's in English...wouldn't have happened without her.

Mr. Craig- 8th grade SS- I liked History a lot before his class...after I loved it.

Mrs. Correll and Mrs. Moore were the elementary teachers I remember the most. Mrs. Moore set me straight, while Mrs. Correll saw something in me many others didn't. I screwed around in class a lot, but she still recommended me to be an math aid to a 1st grade classroom(I'm not sure many would have taken the chance on me). That was one of the first experiences I had teaching/helping students. It made a major impact.

Sometimes it is a matter of personal preferences. I've had conversations with people over certain teachers/coaches. It is amazing how different people see the same teacher. One of the many reasons I am concerned with the current direction of evaluating teachers. We know the really exceptional ones and the really bad ones...after that it gets a little more tricky.

-- Posted by GCC on Tue, Jul 5, 2011, at 11:30 PM

Mr. Hadley Bloomfield- If it was not for this man I would of had a horrible time in College! Thank you for being stern and getting your point across!

-- Posted by bloomfieldgrad on Mon, Jul 18, 2011, at 9:18 AM

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Halea Franklin
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