30 Day Challenge 16

Day 16
Think back to K-12 school. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

You’d think I’d list a music teacher, but my favorite teacher ever was Mrs. Pauline Lewis — 8th grade English. She loved to read and write, and especially enjoyed challenging her kids.

  • She ruled with an iron fist (even though she was only five feet tall), but I could tell she cared about us.
  • She demanded correct spelling and proper grammar.
  • She loved to do spelldown spelling bees (I won a copy of The Andromeda Strain once — she always gave out books as prizes).
  • She actually looked at you and listened when you spoke to her.
  • She inspired my love of writing for personal meaning and reflection, which gave me a crucial safe haven when I was the new kid at a strange school in a strange land, where kids talked with a funny accent and threw snowballs at me as I walked home from the bus stop carrying my violin, and who gave me fantastic nicknames like “Old Milwaukee,” which, incidentally, I would find quite flattering today. :-)

Second place would probably go to Miss Rinehart, my third grade teacher. She was pretty, and wore the latest fashions — and in 1968, those were pretty wild. She smelled good, too.

Ready, steady, remember.

19 thoughts on “30 Day Challenge 16

  1. Country Mouse

    Mrs. Mary Seidel – 3rd grade. She was awesome!! Kind and caring but she expected us to work and she showed interest in each and every one of her students. She read to us every day, we had spelling contests (that I would win) and she taught us to crochet. I am not good at things like that but she was very, very patient with me. I just thought she was the greatest. Unfortunately the year I had her was the year that her son was born and we only had her part of the year!!! She would come back and read to us though and I was so glad to see her! (Her replacement was Carol Felver and though I liked her it just wasn’t the same). I grew very fond of Mrs. Felver though when she taught my sons!!
    The neat thing is that I’ve been able to keep in touch with Mrs. Seidel and she was my son’s reading teacher when he was in elementary school!

  2. Rae

    Mr. Turner – 9th Grade English, “study period” before school and first period. First of all, this man was my dad’s college roomie for a semester at BG. So, Mr. Turner naturally picked on my sister first… then me, 5 years later. He did rule with an iron fist, but the man was truly funny. At the time, I really SUCKED at some of the simple things that made English, “English”… like reading out loud and writing the way we should write instead of the way we sometimes talk. He beat that out of me REAL quick. Ha. One morning, Monique and I were leaning on the desks talking to each other and he has a HUGE problem with people putting their butts on surfaces where people eventually put their hands. So, he sent us out in the hall. If you imagine, I never got in trouble in school. So, I was nervous. He came out and slammed the door behind him and said “YOU GUYS!!!…. are going to stand here until they think you’re really in trouble… and please… butts? Really?”….” Then he sighed and walked away. Needless to say, I was a sad girl when that year was over, but I visited him all the time. At the end of the year, there was a big awards ceremony at the Jr. High (9th grade was there at the time) and I thought I was just there for music. I can’t remember the strangely named award he gave me, but I laughed until I cried. There’s so much more I could say, but his humor in the classroom made me believe it was possible to be both funny and teach kids things at the same time. He made me want to be a teacher.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Butts on the desks…I would SO agree with that ookiness factor — if, in fact, I had desks. :-)

  3. Greg

    Mrs. Olive Franz–
    She was actually a retired (long-retired) public high school English teacher that the pastor of our parochial grade school persuaded to teach there on a half-day basis. She instilled a love of reading, structure of grammar and punctuation and directed our one-act class plays. By the way, I can still diagram a sentence!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      If you can still diagram a sentence, you are in an increasingly shrinky market, my friend. I’m impressed!

  4. Meg

    My first place award goes to Mrs. Grose – sixth grade math and social studies. She gave me my first and ONLY detention so I don’t know why I liked her so much. But I do know I’ve learned more from her than any other teacher.

    There’s a tie for second. Mrs. Vogel – third grade. I just thought she was the funniest thing in the world. She always made class fun somehow but she managed to keep complete control of the classroom and all of my ornery classmates.

    Up there with Mrs. Vogel would have to be my choral director of 10 years. She sure knew the right things to say to make me cry but that was just her loving way of pushing me to excellence. She’s taught me most everything I know about music and performing and for that I will be forever grateful. And how many people can say they’ve had the same teacher watch them grow for that many years? That is a special thing in itself. :)

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      How true, Meg! I (and band folks) are in a wonderful position to watch our students grow and mature as artists and people over a span of years. Since my program is self-contained, I got the best from that world. If you were in 5th grade choir, we were together for 8 years! That’s something special (and a huge testament to my students’ long-suffering, HA).

      And that Mrs. Grose…she is a keeper fo sho. Love her. :-)

  5. RD

    This is really strange and pretty self-revealing, but, as I think back, I remember the names of very few of my teachers. I cannot think of a single one of my K-9 teachers names, and have few recollections of classroom activities. However, my sixth grade teacher (can’t remember her name), was pretty weird. She was not pretty. Her crooked teeth dominated her face. Most of the class, including the teacher, brown bagged our lunches (this would have been about 1955-1956). She loved olives and would drag out this gallon jar of olives every lunch, put it on her desk and eat “tons” of them. As a result, every year for Christmas, her classes gave her a gallon jar of olives. Another memory from my sixth grade year: the principle came into the room one day (he was a large man), and bent one of the boys over the teacher’s desk, and paddled him with a wooden paddle in front of the entire class. I don’t remember who the boy was, the principle’s name, nor the reason for that discipline, but I do remember the paddling.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      EWWWWW OLIVES — Worst. Food. EVER.

      And while it was a horrible thing to do (spank that boy in front of everyone), I’ll bet it served as quite the deterrent…

  6. Kodye

    My choir director was pretty sweet. Best teacher ever. Awesome with all her students. So she’s number 1A. Ms. Stoneham, 7th grade English, would be 1B. Mostly for putting up with how insane I was in 7th grade. If I were here, I would of found a way to kill me and get away with it. But she didn’t. She let me live.

  7. Suzanne

    Garsh…I loved them all! Really! I learned something from all of them. To me teachers were just other people since mom and dad were friends with so many of them so maybe I wasn’t really impressed by them hahahah j/k.

  8. BoomR

    ARGH! Playing catch-up again!!

    OK, I hope this doesn’t sound too sappy, but my dad was my favorite teacher. He was the chairman of the music department in my HS & of course, my band director for my Jr & Sr years (his assistant directed the soph band).

    Not only was (and still is) a great musician, he was a great rehearsal technician. I learned a lot about being a good band director from him. We ALWAYS got good marks at contest for being well-rehearsed, as well as having great intonation (he always had one of the old Conn Strobo-tuners on a stool right by his side at every rehearsal).

    But more importantly, he was known as being VERY fair-minded…never playing favorites (unlike the choral director at the time who had a horrible reputation for having his favorites). He was double- or triple-hard on me as a student and in the end, I think – er – I know I’m a better musician to this day for it. He said, “The reason I’m so hard on you is that I want your abilities/talents to stand head/shoulders above anyone else. So that when it comes time to give you an A in band, it’s because you’ve clearly earned it & deserve it with no questions. And that you’re not just getting an A because you’re the band director’s son.” (the HS choir director, on the other hand would give his own kids who were my classmates A’s as well – one was a HORRIBLE singer. Other singers who were also “A-material” singers & students, but were not Vince’s “pets” never got A’s. His reputation was pretty much the exact opposite of my dad’s)

    To this day, all my high school buddies still remark about what a tough but good band director my dad was & how he never played favorites…made everyone tow the line.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      I remember the Strobo tuners! And it is no surprise to me that your pop was a great educator and role model. Look at you. :-)

  9. Hannah

    Probably, Mrs. Kluge would get first place. She has taught me so much more then one could learn in a classroom, ( corny I know).

    Second would probably be Mrs. Gilbert, she taught kindergarten and first grade. She is awesome and I love her :)

    Then all the Music Teachers I’ve had, they have all taught me something and through their classes I’ve realized that there is more to music then what you hear on the radio.

    And Finally, Mr. Cotterman, His class has made me realize that I want to teach High School Math one day.


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