How Teachers Have Affected Me

July 9, 2021

It’s odd that as important as these people are to us, we usually only remember those that impacted us adversely.  I should probably address them last, because I admit that I can look fondly at a good many of teachers. 

My third grade teacher Mrs. Barrett would read to us, daily, Little House on the Prairie series novels. And it quickly became a favorite of mine, probably before I started watching the TV series. Even though the TV series had been out for a while, the books had been out much longer. I remember that she had a great diction and I will remember forever when she ended the chapter which finished with “And Neli had no muff”. She had a great part in my love for reading. My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Stevens, would read to us the tales of the Old Testament in a fairytale type format; then he would quiz us on what he had read to us. I remember that stories were riveting to me, and I was anxious to answer all the questions he would ask. One day I was sick at home; he told the class that since I wasn’t there, the rest of them must answer more questions than usual. Both these teachers made sure that the monthly book ordering for my forms were distributed early and would remind us to place our orders.

I always wanted several books from each form. Mom didn’t always give me money, but she would occasionally have extra cash. Unless I made a really big deal, and she would cave. Those were good times. 

My fifth grade teacher was a beautiful young woman and I was infatuated. I wanted to be a good student for her; I did well in school that year –  except for maybe math and of course my penmanship. I was well motivated by my need for approval.  This was also the first year we would  change classrooms during the day. We would spend an hour per day with other teachers doing fun lessons which didn’t count toward our grades. Of those, my favorite was the weekly sing song sessions with Mrs. Gonzalez. She played all those folk songs with a lot of heart.

I will never forget that Miss Moore. Let us kids go all out for the end-of-the-year school party. We had music and I brought my forty-five speed single record of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.  I played it over and over, and we all sang at the top of her lungs. She let it all go. A very relaxed woman especially when we consider how all the boys have been crazy stupid around her.

She ended up marrying Mr. Apodaca from the middle school. I never had a class with Mr Apodaca myself. However, he did introduce me and my friends to dungeons and dragons. He actually took it upon himself to transport myself and the rest of our gaming group to a game contest. We did okay at the contest. But the experience itself was incredible. I’m trying very hard to remember now another middle school teacher who influenced me a little by sponsoring the chess club and some of the less advantaged kids, like myself, in the local Optimist Club.  Yet another teacher who influenced without actually being official teacher. It’s killing me trying to remember his name. I’ve been thinking… Carter. But I’m not sure.

I can’t let the names of the coaches and specialties principles and so forth go and noticed Coach Dillard was an amazing personality for the kids. He was always pushing them to give it all they could. He was the only coach I personally dealt with but I have heard that many others were great influences. And I must follow up with Dr. Osborne with assistant principal at the middle school. He disciplined me a couple times. For fighting before school, I got in school suspension. And once I was paddled…probably fro fighting again. By the time I made it to high school, he was my Algebra and Geometry teacher. We mixed like oil and water. 

I remember he would have homework and a quizzes for us daily. I believe they were weekly tests, as well. One of my best friends gave him so much grief. That was Alfonso Fierro, and I will tell more about him in the antics, later.  

Another inspirational teacher was a middle school teacher Mrs. Gonzalez who would address the kids by their last names instead of the first names. She said it was the the respectful thing to do, because the teachers expected us to address them by their last names. When kids had  difficult names, she would take the time to learn the names the pronunciations. Another classy move on her part was walking to the cafeteria,  she would wave at the students instead of speaking to them with their mouths full.

The strict ones were most memorable of all. Mrs. Woods was a great teacher and one of my first very strict educators.  Her entire family were educators if I recall correctly. I graduated with one of her sons. I have to admire their efforts; that is some level of commitment. 

I mentioned Dr. Osborne already. Mr Castello was a great English teacher – very proud and showy.  However, he inspired me to wanna be a teacher. This is a dream on which I haven’t completely given up. I had a lot of professors who also did a great job with their instruction. I am glad to have had them as educators, but very few of them inspired me the way, my early teachers did. 

Again, not addressing how good of a job they did. Because most of my professors were highly knowledgeable. I just wish the names and faces were ingrained in my memories as deeply as my school teachers. And the relatively few teachers and professors, with whom I had runs in, well they shall not be named. The combined positive effect that the great educators dwarfs any unpleasant memories.

And I know that I failed to mention every teacher that positively influenced me. I have already thought of a couple more that deserved to be mentioned. There may be a follow up to this post in the future.  

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