I have been inspired! Here is the list of all my amazing teachers who taught, inspired, and most of all cared.
Mrs. Molodovsky: (first grade). She saw an immigrant child who spoke no English and had pretty much nothing. She spent time with me outside of school. She took me to the zoo and while there, she learned about my love for big cats (what fun to try and get that concept across when I spoke almost no English). She bought me a tiny little plate with a tiger on it. I had that plate for decades until one of my own cats knocked it down and broke it.
Mrs. Sapperstein: (Third grade). She helped me learn how to read English. Since there was no ESL program in my school, I was thrown into the regular class to sink or swim (plus when they found out I was good in math, they had me skip second grade when a lot of that reading learning might have occurred). I learned English from watching tv, but reading was another story. The first language I learned to read had been Hebrew (different alphabet and you read from right to left) so English was completely bizarre. She stayed after school to help me learn.
Mrs. Hudson/Gutman: (Sixth grade English). Oh Mrs. Hudson how amazing you were. She didn’t teach me *how* to read. She taught me to love to read. She realized I hated reading (it was all those stand-up-in-front-of-the-class-and-do-book-reports moments that had me *hating* it) and she recommended that I get out two books: “Black and Blue Magic” and “Down a Dark Hall.” I discovered worlds and possibilities I had never known existed. After that, I became voracious. Every day right at the end of school, I would go to her room and she would recommend two books. I would run to the library and check them out and would read them that evening. The next day, we repeated the cycle. This went on for all of Middle School.
Mr. Bloomhuff (Ninth grade biology). He came in the first day and said, “This is a college preparatory class. If you are not planning to go to college, you should leave, now. Be prepared to study at least a half an hour every, single day for just this class.” And we did. He tested us. He quizzed us. He worked us hard. And he made it cool to try and to do well on his tests.
Mrs. Citron (Ninth grade Landmarks in Literature) She came in to the first day of ninth grade English, drew a diagonal boot on the blackboard and asked, “what is this?” We all sat silently, too afraid to guess. Alex Glatter was the one who replied, “That’s Italy.” “Correct,” she cried. “You have to know what you know and know what you don’t know but never be afraid to guess. If you guess wrong, you can figure out what’s right. If you never guess, if you never think, you will never know.”
Mr. Graham (10th Grade Chemistry and 12 Grade Physics). Mr. Graham had such enthusiasm for his topics that you couldn’t help but be inspired. He sparked scientific curiosity in me and that has led me on a merry chase throughout my career and life.
Mr. Waldman (Advanced Math) Give him a bon! Mr. Wald-Man taught me how to think and he taught me how to make classes fun. He was as dramatic as he was eccentric and many of us can still tell you all about MPI and DPI danger (the multiplication principle of inequality and the division principle of inequality) because we remember him turning out the lights, and jumping on his desk to rant on the dangers of each of them. I teach dramatically as well and it is in no small part do to him.
Ms. Powell (High School choirs). MAP, as we all called her taught me everything I know about singing and performing. And I have passed her wisdom on to countless students ranging from three-year-olds to corporation presidents who take my workshops or classes. The debt I owe her could never be repaid. She changed my life.
If you’ve read this far, who inspired you? Who are the teachers who helped you become the person you are today or the one you aspire to be tomorrow?