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Teacher Appreciation Week: Making A Difference

Teachers impact the lives of students everyday. In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked some of our Teacher Champions to take a moment to reflect on their unique experiences in the classroom and share their thoughts.

Here’s what Michigan special education teacher Heather Gauck shared:

heather-guackIf you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
My superpower would probably be teleportation.  There are so many awesome places in this world that I want to travel to.  Also, it would be incredible to be able to blink and be with my family who lives in Hawaii and Alaska.

Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
My favorite teacher was Mr. Holcomb my high school government teacher.  It was not because he was easy or overly fun, actually on Senior Skip day we all returned that day just for his class. He had high expectations for each of us and earned our respect.

Why did you become a teacher?
I originally did not go to college to be a teacher.  I wanted to be a zoologist and bombed my Botany tests. I worked hard though and had a heart to heart talk with the professor affectionately known as Dr. Death.  She asked me to think about what I truly wanted. I had the incredible fortune of being a foster sister and eventually sister to my two adopted brothers who have fetal alcohol syndrome. I realized now when I look back that I was always called to be a cheerleader and teacher of those who find school a struggle.  It is the BEST job I could ever dream of! 

 

colleen-polaninHere’s what Delaware Algebra I teacher Colleen Polanin shared:

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would want to fly, so I could get places faster.

Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
Mrs. Foster for Geometry and Algebra II because she challenged me to be my best, but also cared about me as a student.

What advice would you give to the first-year-of-teaching version of yourself?
Don’t stress so much over perfection –  worry about the students getting what they need find success.

 

Here’s what West Virginia high school English teacher Jessica Salfia shared:

jessica-salfiaWho was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
My favorite teacher growing up was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Pamela Frey.  It was this year that I became a voracious reader.  I was addicted to books.  I read all the time: during class, during recess, during lunch.  It actually got to be a bit of problem because I started neglecting my responsibilities to sneak my book out of my bag or trapper keeper and read.  Mrs. Frey saw the way books fed my soul and instead of fighting it, she encouraged it. She started giving me books that were much more difficult than the titles recommended for most 4th graders.  I will never forget the day she placed A Wrinkle in Time in my hands.  She nurtured me as a reader and cultivated my relationship with reading.  I am forever grateful to her for this.

What advice would you give to the first-year-of-teaching version of yourself?
I would tell my first-year-teaching self to be more patient,  to not get so upset when lessons don’t go exactly to plan, and to buy more comfortable shoes.  

Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher because teachers literally get to make the world a better place.  It’s about as close as you can get to being an actual superhero.  It’s hard, and sometimes thankless, but that’s what makes the successes so satisfying.  I get to experience wonder every day.  I get to help someone learn something new every day.  It’s hear-wrenching. It’s joyous.  It is  maddening. It’s miraculous.  I can’t imagine doing anything else.  

 

kari-patrickHere’s what Kentucky high school English teacher Kari Patrick shared:

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
My superpower would be teleportation because I could travel anytime, anywhere and still get all my work done! 

Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Harris believed in me and showed me how to be confident. 

What advice would you give to the first-year-of-teaching version of yourself?
It’s never as serious as you think. 

 

Many teachers make a difference in the lives of kids. Join us in celebrating them throughout this week.

 

Click here to see the teachers featured yesterday!