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Thank you: teachers who helped you, stood up for you or made things better

I was just reading the "worst thing a teacher ever did to you" which was a thread with a lot of very sad stories.

I wondered if anyone has a teacher that went to bat for you, helped you, inspired you, etc.


by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 3302/17/2013

Miss Perkevich. She was so old she was a waitress at the Last Supper. Taught American History. We feared her and we LOVED her! She was not easy to please but was effusive when we did. We respected her immensely. She knew her stuff and told amazing stories about her life. She made me understand and love history but more important, she taught me that hard work has its own reward.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 101/30/2013

Mine was my fabulous 4th grade teacher. It was in my school in western PA, a notoriously rough and tumble area, but she could see that I was the kind of boy who wanted to play inside at recess.

She created a safe space for me to be and was always kind and encouraging. Later when I was in HS and going through hell, I would go and visit her every once in a while.

She was beautiful, a tall well dressed woman who looked a bit like Mary Tyler Moore. She got married late in life but apparently has a great husband and kid. Very happy for her.

She kinda restored my faith in people, to be honest.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 201/30/2013


by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 301/30/2013

I wish I had one to thank, op, but mine were all cunts to me, male and female.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 401/30/2013

R4 sorry to hear that.

There's a thread where people are sharing those stories (it's the one that gave me the idea for this one):

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 501/30/2013

My teachers were almost uniformly awful, especially in High School, especially the ones who were probably gay.

I don't remember a single one who "helped (me), stood up for (me), or made things better." Maybe Sister Agnes. The rest were busy kissing Kirk Moore's ass for the eight years of grammar school, particularly as we hit puberty.

High school was utter chaos.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 601/30/2013

Hi Folks - Not to be mean in the least, but can we keep this one about teachers that were helpful?

There is a thread (see R5) for the "horror" stories, so that would be the place to post them.


by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 701/30/2013

Well, excuse the fuck out of me, R7. I shant darken your happy little sunshine and puppies thread any further.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 801/30/2013

I'm in between. I don't remember any teacher being particularly kind or particularly cruel to me. I had a coach who was a fucking nightmare, but pretty indifferent as a teacher.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 901/30/2013

High school freshman English. His name was Mr. Kennedy. The first book we read was A SEPARATE PEACE (of course). We kept a journal as we read. I don't remember what I wrote in there, but I'm sure it was very telling. He was always very complimentary about my writing. Anyway, for the second book, we had a choice of three or four books. But he pulled me aside after class and gave me a copy of GOOD TIMES/BAD TIMES by James Kirkwood (which was a pretty overtly gay book). He said he thought I might enjoy it and he looked forward to reading what I thought of it.

And that was it. He gave me an A for my journal. He wasn't trying anything unseemly. He just sensed I was gay and, without judgement, let me know it was okay. I'll never forget him handing me that book. It was such a blasé, casual gesture. And that was the beauty of it.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1001/30/2013

R6 is boring. Maybe I was lucky, but most of my high school teachers were either good or great... Only a few bad apples in the bunch. The elementary school teachers were a different story, but I lived in Florida then...

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1101/30/2013

Andrea Juanic (I may spelled the last name wrong, she always teased us about not being able to spell her name). Best teacher I ever had. Went out of her way to create lesson plans for me. When my mom refused to buy me glasses, she made a large print version of all the homework assignments and tests for me. Oh, and on the last day of 2nd grade she gave everyone these singing cards which were like new technology at the time. She recorded a goodbye message wishing us well in third grade.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1201/30/2013

I can't post names because even my elementary school teachers are still working, but--

Mrs. G--you were (and are) a brilliant, sweet 4th grade teacher. I'll never forget when you chased my mom down the hall with tears in your eyes to tell her I had scored a perfect score on my Stanfords.

I'll never forget how you intervened for me, in 5th grade, when the retards of Dade County schools had me bussed to the "gifted" program at a horseshit school* for two days a week, and then forced me to join a class of "normal" (read: semi-retarded, non-English speakers) kids in my own proper school for 3 days, in the theory that I would "lift" the class. I spent every day in tears because I never knew which school I was supposed to be at from day to day, and no one bothered to assign me a desk at either school.

Thanks for putting the kibosh on that.

*Horseshit school had an "open" floor plan, the invention of some tripping hippie, no doubt. Instead of classrooms, all the students were shepherded into one very large room where you were sure both not to hear your teacher (because all teachers taught at the same time) or not to know which class you actually belonged to.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1301/30/2013

R1, that's a nice recollection.

I was raised a Unitarian. It's more about spirituality. Anyway, it was a sort of Sunday school and I couldn't wait for Sunday when this really hot long-haired, Italian friend of my Dad's gave us a lecture back in the 70s about how being gay was no better and no worse than being straight. I know he knew about me, even though I wasn't out yet, and I felt he was subtly aiming his message to the class to me. I'll never forget that guy.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1401/30/2013

I had one teacher - Mr. S - who taught me Geo-Trig and Algebra. He was also a PE teacher, though he never taught me PE. I had a really shitty time in high school. I would get very defensive, and generally acted like everyone was against me (understandably, because it felt that way). I remember one particularly bad day where Mr. S said to me - "you know, the whole world isn't against you." Here it is 25 years later and I still remember that. It didn't mean much at the time, but it eventually did in an 'it gets better' kind of way. He probably doesn't remember - he might not even remember me. But here was this big jock teacher who I really had nothing to do with other than taking Algebra from him, and he was actually paying attention. It was an unlikely comment from an unlikely source, but it's the nicest and best thing a teacher has ever said to me.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1501/30/2013

Fred Hassinger was my fifth grade teacher. I was the shy one in class. Fred tried to draw me out, gave me extra attention with art projects, gave me the lead in the class play, and I responded. I will always remember his compassion. He died young, unfortunately. My mother told me he bled through his belly button. I remember feeling bad about Fred and wondering if my mother was trying to put it to me in a way I'd understand, or she was just plain stupid.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1601/30/2013

Never. But it's encouraging to know that they exist.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1701/30/2013

anyone else...?

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1801/31/2013

Ruth Trowbridge, my senior AP English teacher. Brilliant, funny, and rigorous. She died young of cancer, the year after I started college.

She also wrote the following poem, which has been included in a lot of high-school literary anthologies:

[bold]Between the Lines[/bold]

Don't tell me again that one day

Prince Charming will arrive.

I remember all those fairy tales—

Only too well.

Who could take seriously

Some guy who'd spend his half his life

Searching for thornless roses in the snow?

Or traveling east of the sun and west of the moon?

Or trying to climb glass mountains?

His reward is to marry the fair princess

(Whose opinion is never asked)

And live happily ever after.

But what about the princess?

What's her reward?

He gets to quaff mead with his cronies,

Open Parliament,

And show everyone the picture of him

Standing on the dragon’s head.

She gets to keep a drafty castle clean,

Plan the banquets,

Have the babies,

And keep from screaming every time someone says,

"Is your husband [italic]the[/italic] Prince Charming?

You lucky girl!"

Personally, I'd rather wait for Rumpelstiltskin.

At least he'll expect me to think.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 1901/31/2013

Thanks r19, that was a great read!

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2001/31/2013

I was lucky and had many great teachers but Bea Neergaard stands out. I was bullied and she reached out. This was the first teacher I'd encountered who used "Ms" in front of her name. She read the class a short story about a child who was raised in such a way that nobody could identify its gender. When it came time for us to watch the sex education film, instead of having us go into separate rooms, which had been the norm until then, she had a discussion about the logistics of it. She asked what we, as sixth graders, felt about that and wouldn't it make more sense to watch it together and discuss it afterwards to see if we had similar feelings? It was the first time it was done in the school district (and true to democracy, we took a vote). When she heard that our only black student had been called the "N" word, she had a talk about the ugly history of that term. This was all back in the early/mid seventies before people even thought of incorporating this into the curriculum. She insisted that we learn to play chess and that we'd appreciate it later on. She was fierce.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2101/31/2013

Mr. Mitchell. He was an English teacher who also taught a senior seminar titled Humanities. It was ostensibly a survey of the arts and humanities over time, but it really served as a way for him to show a handful of students each year that there was a wonderful world outside our podunk rural Illinois town. He took us on field trips to downtown Chicago - showed us how to take the commuter train, took us to ethnic restaurants for lunch, shopping at Marshall Field's, etc. It helped us reach for more and to be able to relate to the "big city" my family generally avoided.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2201/31/2013

R21, that brought tears to my eyes. She sounds fierce as hell!

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2301/31/2013

His name was Thackeray. He took me from crayons to perfume.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2401/31/2013

My sixth grade PE teacher, Mr.Broderick, was so kind to me and so generous with his time. It was the early 80s.

I was a very awkward,uncoordinated, chubby kid and could barely kick a soccer ball without stumbling. He recognized my problems from the first day of gym class and took it upon himself to help me get in better shape, without making me feel like I was some kind of freak.

He took me jogging three days a week, circling around the large expanse of the soccer and football fields, during his free period/lunch break. During those jogs, he would ask me friendly questions about how I liked my other classes and about my family/ family history. In turn, he would tell me what he, his wife and son liked to do on weekends, etc.

With my parents' permission, he came to my house on a Saturday to drop off a set of free-weights for me to borrow and he put together a work-out routine for me. He would ask me about my progress routinely, and suggest new exercises.

Never once did he mention my being over-weight or suggest my needing to change anything about myself. I started slimming down and felt so much more confident about myself.

I never really thanked him enough at the time. I tried to track him down through my middle school's Facebook page a few years ago, where I learned that he had died in his mid-fifties from early-onset Alzheimer's. It was very sad for me.

He was a gem of a man.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2501/31/2013

A cool PE teacher ... who'da thunk it?

Ms. Neergaard sounds awesome too.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2601/31/2013

bump it

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2702/01/2013

My 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Miss Butts, not only encouraged me to write short stories, she also let me use her cubicle DURING CLASS to write. After school she'd read through my stories and make suggestions. I'll never forget it.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2802/01/2013

Elementary school not so much but high school had a cast of characters that really impacted me.

From Brother Ralph Ventura who challenged us to be the best we could, Brother Gregory, prim and proper who taught us Castillian Spanish, and Mr. Eugene Petit who we could always tell was hung over if his class landed in first period and it was a film strip day with darkened room.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 2902/01/2013

Mr. Romano, older bald Italian teacher in the worst high school in the city that just so happened to be 99.8% black.

Took an interest in the shy, pudgy kid who seemed to be very different from everyone else. Encouraged him to read, explore writing, and recommended a movie called "Pleasantville," thinking the kid may get something out of it.

13 years later, that kid has traveled the world, met the president, appeared on national television multiple times, and become a published author thrice over.

His love of film and experimental cinema is traced back to that special movie recommended by an adult who took an interest in him when nobody else did.

Thank you, Mr. Romano.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 3002/01/2013

Sister Joan of Arc, St.Peters, Fairmont, WV

Ruth Dilliman, Sistersville High, Sistersville,WV.

Both wonderful teachers. Everyone loved and respected them.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 3102/03/2013


by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 3202/17/2013

Mrs. Ferry was a former nun married to an ex-priest. She taught religion and I was such a pain in the ass but she always loved me and put up with my bratty ways.

by The Charlie Brown Teacher reply 3302/17/2013
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