How Teachers Have Impacted my Life


I imagine that  every person who chose education as a career has a teacher in the past who was a positive influence. I’ve written about favorite teachers before, but as I sit here contemplating those individuals, again, I can’t narrow it down to one.  In elementary school, Barb Ihnen was my third and fourth-grade teacher.  We adored her.  She made her classroom and learning fun.  It was even differentiated back then (though I didn’t know that term), and some was self-paced.  I was so excited when I found out she was changing positions and would be my fourth grade teacher, as well.  Just this past fall, I was blessed to work with Barb again, this time with her as my mentor in my principal’s licensing program.  She is still an innovative and outstanding educator, now as a principal in an elementary school.

In junior high, I was in an advanced math class.  That meant that I took eighth-grade math in seventh-grade, and Algebra the following year.  In my small school, I had Mr. Bud Tully for both years.  He was getting close to retirement age when I was there, but he still loved his job.  You could just tell.  He was friendly, happy, and patient every day – not an easy thing when you deal with seventh- and eighth-graders all day.  He would often give up his prep period to work with my friend and I if we were confused on homework assignments.  He never made us feel like we were a burden, but welcomed us in any time we needed help.

I had a handful of teachers then between high school and college whom I appreciated.  None had the impact on me that my younger years’ teachers did.  This may have been the reason I was driven towards elementary teaching as my career choice.  Another teacher in my life may have influenced that choice, as well.  My mother was a kindergarten teacher for over forty years.  She was excellent in the classroom, and in the home.  She showed me what a working mother could accomplish, and she did it well.  I couldn’t have asked for a better model as a parent, or as a professional.

I have had times throughout my career when I have wondered, “What if…” I had chosen a different career path.  But the bottom line is, I care about kids, and I care about the educational system.  I’m proud to be in education, and thankful for those who have taught me along the way.  Have you thanked a teacher today?

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