student to student
May 2, 2007
Seniors at Park City High School who qualified for the ‘Top 10 percent Dinner’ were asked to invite along a teacher who had an impact on them during school. It could be any teacher, any grade. Unfortunately the only reason I know this is because I peeked at my friend’s invitation. Regardless, it got me thinking, how do you pick your most influential teacher? Almost every teacher leaves some kind of impact, how can you chose just one?
The majority of teachers chosen by students to attend the dinner are high school teachers. Whether it’s because these teachers are the most significant in shaping our education, or they are just the only ones we remember is arguable. High school teachers are the first ones to respect us as adults though. Before most other adults in our lives treat us as equals, the high school teachers show us respect never before given. Due to this we act as adults, and it is the first time we figure out that rising to the occasion and acting like people expect us to, gives us opportunities never before presented.
It’s also the high school teachers who are by our sides during the college process. They not only help us choose colleges, but also write our recommendations and give us support despite what the acceptance letter says.
While high school teachers are the most recent influence, it is the less remembered teachers from our past that helped shape our future. They are most likely the one’s who first got us interested in a certain subject. While I don’t remember much about my kindergarten teacher, she no doubt taught me to sound out words and color in the lines. I would say that is slightly more important than the future lessons about Congress and advanced trigonometry. At the ’10 percent Dinner’ very few teachers are from middle and elementary school. Students seem to forget that without the teacher who taught them to draw straight lines they wouldn’t be doing so well in geometry.
Even the teachers who may slip my mind when I rattle off 12 years’ worth have helped shaped my life. While I would never have admitted it then, the fact the middle school teachers can even put up with students during their moody, pubescent years should warrant an invitation to dinner.
I am also reluctant to admit how much of an impact all the bad teachers have had on making me a better person. They teach us what not to do, and show us how not to act when we grow up. One particular teacher in my past constantly wore tight pants. Despite the fact that I haven’t seen her in over five years I still have a promise to myself to never wear anything made from that combination of leather and plastic once I reach 50. While I would never invite her to dinner (simply out of fear of the outfit she may wear), I would credit her for being extremely influential.
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There’s another teacher whose name I would have to try very hard to remember, but he taught me a rhyme to remember how to multiply and divide fractions. I used this rhyme months ago when taking the ACT’s, and while I still couldn’t remember his name, his rhyme influenced my score, which led to me getting into college. Quite influential I would say.
Some teachers inspired me to be better, some inspired me to pursue writing, others inspired me to always check my teeth after applying bright pink lipstick. No matter what grade they taught or how much I liked them, looking back I found that its impossible to sit through a teacher’s class for a year and not have them, somehow, change my life. I definitely connected to a few teachers on a more personal level, and some made me laugh more than others, but all made an impact. That must be what encourages teachers to stand each day in front of unappreciative, too cool-for-school teenagers. Knowing that no matter what grade the student receives, somewhere in their life, a moment will arise and that kid will make a choice that can be traced back to their third grade teacher. Either that or teachers do it for the pay. So whether they taught us to read or made us read Atlas Shrugged over the summer, choosing just one teacher who made an impact is impossible.