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They Did For Me. Who Did For You?

Cross posted at Flawed But Authentic.

Two teachers from my high school days made quite a difference for me. One of them was my English teacher. She introduced me to Arthur Miller's The Crucible and changed the way I felt about literature forever. For a while, I went around calling everyone Goody before their name because I thought that "Goody Proctor" was such a funny name. The other was our student government adviser who had us do amazing things as a group and let us move forth in whatever direction we chose. He even had us out to his house and we had bonfires and sweet, innocent moments where he encouraged us to find out just who we wanted to be and also how to daringly become just that.

As luck would have it, they were married to one another.

At a time when I thought life was over (I had a two year old daughter by this time, and going out was nonexistent) they provided me with lots of comfort. And hot cocoa with a plethora of marshmallows. They also allowed me to bring my young daughter with me when all the other students came to visit.

Small things like bonfires and cocoa and laughter fill my memory bank and it may seem silly, but I am forever grateful. They fortified my belief in myself and my contribution to the world (they were the best kind of hippies) but also invigorated my conviction that I wasn't a Throw Away. As confidence builders, they were extraordinary.

Who in your past did that for you?

Sit down with marshmallow-laden hot cocoa and tell me all about it. I'll start the fireplace.
« Marshmallow Laden Cocoa | Main | Shameless Plug Of My Loin Fruit »

Reader Comments (12)

In the family? My mother. She's amazing -- and I do mean she still is. Outside the family circle? My piano teacher. She was like a second mom -- and I had a wonderful mom already, so this was a bonus. I still remember her wisdom and her calmness. If I can channel even a little of that influence, I'll know I've done right in this world.

March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

My best friend's mom was/has been like my own mom to me. She had confidence in me when it seemed like no one else did. I'll love her forever for that.

March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Fine post.

March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaoch

[...] Mama writes about two high school teachers that made a difference in her [...]

March 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBumblebee Sweet Potato

My high school journalism teacher, Ms. Colby, was my inspiration. It is because of her that I grew to love writing so much. She was a Beatles, Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell fan and she was often humming a tune by one of those musical artists in class. When I wrote an article for our student newspaper, she would always give me honest but polite criticism and because I trusted her and loved her, I always worked harder to get it right. I'm forever thankful to her. She always said, "live the story", meaning we would seek out the information and immerse ourselves in what was happening before we sat down to write dthe story. It was such good advice. Thinking about it now, I realize I need to get back into that.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Hands down my band teacher, Mr. Groth. By far the best teacher I had in HS. His love and passion for music and his students was very apparent. More band students went to him instead of their councelors. He demanded your best when it came to performances and yet he did it in such a way that it was fun and not difficult. We loved performing either on the field or in concert.

WHen the HS was remodeled and made larger a few years ago (I was long gone at that point) you culd purchase a brick and have it engraved to line the entrance of the HS. My friend Nicole and I went in together and purchased a brick: "Thanks Mr. G! Kristi Nicole '92"

He found the brick.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVENTL8R

I have too many to share - I've been blessed with some excellent teachers - so I'll just share my earliest one.

In 6th grade. I had a terrible overbite, wore Goodwill clothes, was painfully shy, very awkward, and pretty unhappy with myself. I won some sort of contest in class, and my prize was a huge box of fresh Crayons. My teacher included a note that said - Gillian - You have been blessed with beauty, brains, and a loving heart. I am so lucky to know you. Signed, Mrs. T. It affected me SO profoundly. I can still see the words on the page, almost 20 years later. That compliment (and other teacher-like support) carried me through many a dark day, and still does.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGillian

My sophomore History teacher Mr. Frye. He's a former lawyer with a very low tolerance for bullshit. He was the first to take me aside and tell me that I could do better than the half ass attempts I regularly handed in. He said it with such conviction that it didn't even occur to me to doubt it. For him, I could do better.

BTW Hi! I'm a new reader, via random BlogHer link.

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterV's Herbie

Great post. Very thought provoking. Teachers can really leave indelible marks on our lives. Mr. Borden my volleyball coach, Mrs. Zoesch my Choir teacher, Mr. James, my English teacher, and Miss Kiehl my Math teacher. Favorites of all time...for different reasons.
It sounds like you had some awesome teachers. It's neat to see the two in your post were married to one another. Have you tried looking them up?

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRigel

He wasn't really my teacher in the sense that most of your are remembering (i.e. from grade school), but one of former my co-workers, "D," comes to mind. When I came to that job I'd just gone through a pretty rough patch (via my previous workplace) and was feeling pretty discouraged professionally. But he was so welcoming, he would often sit with me and just talk about how things worked in our institution, telling me stories about people who used to live in the community, about places that no longer existed, but were important to know. For this man who was so well-respected to spend that much time with someone new to the profession, for him to treat me like an equal and yet at the same time mentor really meant a lot to me. Plus he was just a fabulous storyteller.

I wrote about him" rel="nofollow">once upon a time in fact.

Great post, Lady!

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCaffeinated Librarian

Miss Carroll. Eighth grade. She cared, she challenged me to be better, see others.

March 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

New reader here. I just recently discovered your blog through Flawed But Authentic. I've been reading through the archives, taking inspiration from your journey. As someone who is harboring secret (It's such a big career leap,l I'm waiting to say anything out loud until I'm certain. I did just get hired as a substitute teacher, though.) dreams of becoming a teacher, I've loved your writing.

My most influential teacher was Mr. Kirkwood, my junior high drama and history teacher. He spoke to his students with respect and made classes entertaining. He listened to me when no one else would. At a time when I was uncovering family secrets and being told at home that there was nothing about me to love, he became a friend, role modle, and father figure.

Sometimes life is so hard for children that education takes a back seat. Most teachers looked at me and saw only a lazy failure. He looked at me and saw and intelligent, caring person who needed some help. And he gave me that help.

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCait

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