Take time to thank a teacher before it’s too late

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, November 28, 2013

There are a few people who undoubtedly have an influence on the lives of young people.

Teachers, siblings, aunts, uncles and ministers all obviously guide children through the trials and tribulations of life. But, perhaps nobody has a stronger impact on the lives of children than the men and women who serve as their teachers and coaches and schools.

I was lucky in that I came from a family that valued education above everything else. My mom and stepdad both teach at the University. My dad went through medical school and made it clear that I would go to college from a young age. I have aunts and uncles who teach in public schools in Virginia and Idaho.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

However, I would never have been able to achieve my educational goals if not for the teachers and coaches who taught me at Charles Henderson High School and Troy University.

Every teacher at Charles Henderson helped me along my path toward college, but there were a select few who influenced my life beyond the classroom.

Mrs. Johnson taught ninth grade English when I was a freshman. I had always nurtured a love of reading, but Mrs. Johnson taught me how to engage with texts in a meaningful, analytic way.

Mrs. Peterson was my tenth grade English teacher. She was charged with helping us sophomores to pass the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing. Mrs. Peterson inspired me to push the boundaries of my writing beyond what I had become comfortable with. I credit Mrs. Peterson with setting me on the path to becoming a competent writer.

Coach Watson’s history classes might have been the most entertaining I had at Charles Henderson. Watson introduced me to the idea that history was a narrative composed by distinct individuals. Watson turned words on the page of a book in to an engaging story in his class lectures.

Mr. Laliberte taught Pre-Calculus during my junior year. Mr. La was one of the first teachers I had a friendly rapport with. Being able to chat and joke around with Mr. La in class made one of my least favorite subjects, math, in to a class that I legitimately enjoyed attending. And, if there is a person who loves the Charles Henderson Trojans more than Mr. La, I have yet to meet him.

Mrs. Howard taught Latin for three years while I was at Charles Henderson, and I believe Latin was the most important class that I took during my time in high school. Knowing Latin has opened up the world of antiquity that would have been lost to me otherwise. Translating the classical Latin poets instilled in me an appreciation of poetry that I never would have developed without the class. It is a shame that Latin is no longer taught live at Charles Henderson.

The Troy University English faculty has also been influential in forming me in to the person I have become.

Mr. Davis was my first composition and creative writing teacher at Troy University. No matter what I turned in to him, he always said I could do better. I worked all through that first semester as Mr. Davis taught me the rules of academic writing. My proudest moment at Troy University was when I received a 100 on my final paper in his upper-level writing class.

Dr. Montgomery was another of my creative writing teachers at Troy. When I took his Modern Short Story seminar during a summer semester, he introduced me to some of the finest texts in the Western canon. He introduced me to new ideas ways of approaching and engaging literature.

Dr. Robertson taught two of my upper level English classes at Troy. The passion that he has for his subject rubs off in the classroom. I might have learned more in the English forums he held on campus than I did in many of my classes. He often goes beyond his normal duties as a teacher to help students prepare applications for graduate school.

Finally, Dr. Thompson helped me to further understand poetry as an art form. In his class on modern poetry, I learned the theories and rules concerning the composition of poetry.

These are just a few of the teachers who have helped me during my life. During the holiday season, make some time to thank the teachers who have helped you.