Teachers play a role in building Hildemara’s faith in Her Mother’s Hope.

Last week, while in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I had the good fortune to reconnect with a friend I met through email.  Sharon, now retired, taught Latin in a public high school. She had been using the Mark of the Lion trilogy to encourage students’ interest in Roman history, and invited me to visit.  Sharon is one of those teachers who inspire students to love learning.  Over the years, she and her husband, Dennis, have taken classes of students to Italy.  Oh, would I have loved to have been one of Sharon’s students.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed to have a number of teachers who share Sharon’s traits: passion for teaching, dedication to students, high ideals and expectations, a talent in lighting the fire in others.   Here are a few of my favorites:

Miss Taylor, my fourth grade teacher, turned a bunch of rowdy boys into a winning baseball team, and taught a class of gawky kids to square dance.  She encouraged confidence and set up competitions between other classes and schools.  She was tough and fun.

Mrs. Hinkle, my seventh grade teacher, fanned a passion for ancient history.  Not only was she highly intelligent and interesting, she was beautiful.  Half the boys fell in love with her. The girls wanted to be like her.  

My all-time favorite teacher was Mrs. Vardon.  She was my High School French teacher as well as my college advisor. When it came to higher education, Mrs. Vardon went to bat for many students, including my brother.  She looked at his grades, but focused on his SAT scores, recognizing a young man who had more brains than anyone had ever credited him.  She also assisted a certain young man by the name of Rick Rivers into the University of San Francisco, though he quit a few months later to join the Marine Corps and head for Vietnam. (Rick later graduated from U.C. Berkeley.)  Mrs. Vardon prodded me (an average student) into the University of Nevada, Reno, where I was able to major in English with a creative writing emphasis.   Long after Mrs. Vardon retired (at 70!), students visited her, Rick and I among them.

Some see teaching as a job.  The best see it as a calling.

For journaling:

Who were your favorite teachers and why?

What impact did they have on your life?

Have you thanked them?