In honor of teacher appreciation day, I thought I’d do a thematic post.

One of my favorite quotes is, “I am part of all that I have met.”–Alfred Lord Tennyson.  I like to think that I have a little of some of the most influential people in my life in me. Even if it’s hidden deep down, I hope someday to see those traits surface. The traits of those who taught me and those who continue to teach me.

Who was your favorite teacher? Comment and tell about him/her. What did s/he teach? What did s/he do that was so extraordinary?

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It’s hard to narrow down favorite teacher…not because I had so many good ones but because the good ones I had were SO good that it’s hard to choose between them.

In order to help myself accomplish this task I’m going to eliminate college professors from my list (that was where I had the biggest pool of amazing teachers, Boise State is where it’s at!) and I’m going to stick to public school (because honestly I’ve had teachers in every job I’ve worked, at church, seminary, institute, etc…)

My favorite teacher would have to be Mr. Fout. He was my American Government teacher my senior year of high school. First of all, I had a relationship with him. I felt comfortable talking with him, asking him questions, and even joking with him. I knew he cared. I knew that I mattered to him. Second of all, it was in his class that I learned to like learning. I learned that there was a difference between learning and doing work. It seemed like most of my school years were spent learning but mostly doing work and I didn’t like it. But Mr. Fout taught in such a way that we asked questions before he started teaching so that we would look for the answers ourselves. He wanted us to form our own opinions. I loved his class. It was there that I truly learned how to be a student and now I apply it to being a teacher.

I have a framed picture of him that sits on my desk at school, a constant reminder to care about my students and to make learning personal for them. I use his example to try to get my students to answer questions, defend their opinions, and find joy in the accomplishment of learning.

I also have a funny Mr. Fout story:

I am a horribly tardy person. I always have been. It’s one of the worst things about me except that I really don’t care.

I was tardy every single day to Mr. Fout’s class. Every day. He never said anything. It was the end.of.the.school.year. Like less than a month of school left and Misty needed a ride that morning so I picked her up and took her to school. I was tardy, of course. That was apparently the straw that broke Fout’s back. He had had enough. He gave me detention the reason he cited was “Excessive Tardiness.”

“What? Mr. Fout, you can’t possibly be serious?!? I’ve been tardy all year?”

I worked Saturdays and he was giving me Saturday school and if I didn’t show, I wouldn’t walk for graduation. I was so angry and upset–how unfair was Mr. Fout? Soooo unfair that I went home and wrote him a two-page paper titled “There are Many Reasons as to Why One is Tardy” to try to win him over. I thought I was being cute. He came into Albertsons and saw Misty and she tried to sweet talk him into letting me off the hook.

Mr. Fout did not budge. He stood his ground because better than being liked, he was going to teach me a lesson. He never got mad. He just put the paper in front of me and every time I tried to talk him out of it, he just smiled and told me no.

And I even though I clearly haven’t learned this lesson yet…I do more freely own up to my mistakes and I’m far less of an excuse maker (as it’s now one of my biggest pet peeves to make excuses).

I did get someone to cover my shift at work (thankfully) I did my detention time and I walked at graduation.

2 years after high school, I went back to visit Mr. Fout. He was working at the Vice Principal at a different high school but I wanted him to know he had made a difference. I took him a candy bar and a card, my humble gift of gratitude. He took me back in his office and asked about my life He asked about college and my plans for the future. He gave me advice and told me to check in again. He passed away a year later in a car accident.

I still think of him often and I still utter prayers of gratitude for this most influential teacher. What a difference one good teacher can truly make. I’m not that teacher yet, but someday I hope to be. It helps to hear stories…

So tell yours! Who was your favorite teacher (could be a piano teacher, coach, religious instructor, trainer, etc…) Just tell me about him/her. What made him/her so influential? What did you learn?

**I must still give a shout out to Miss Kinney (who later became Mrs. Hogan), Mr. Ricketts, Miss Daughters, Miss Murakami, Lorrie Maughan, Jennifer Peterson, and  Brother Empey. All largely influential as well—along with about 20 professors from college. I’ve been blessed with good teachers/mentors/examples. I celebrate them all today!***

**Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, it’s been extended! Come on and join the fun!***

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