Teachers make a real difference
The following was posted on the ATA’s Facebook page in recognition of World Teachers’ Day.
Darren Fleischhacker looked out for me when I was in high school. I was dealing with a mental illness and struggling to find my place in the world. He gave me a safe place to explore who I was, try new things, express myself in new ways and make my own decisions. He pulled me aside for heart-to-hearts when he thought I needed them and made sure that no matter what I was doing, I was safe. He was more than a teacher. He was my friend.
Eric Rahn taught me longer than any other school teacher. He watched me grow up and gave me guidance along the way. We had joint interests outside of the classroom, and he used them to ensure I felt welcome in his class. He went out of his way to help me with projects outside of the classroom and outside of the school, and expected nothing in return. He is the only teacher to ever make me laugh so hard I cried while in class. I don’t know a single student of his with a bad thing to say about him, and countless say he has touched their lives. He is an amazing man, and when he retires, it will impact the entire community like very few teachers before him.
Audra Lotoski pushed me to be my best in areas I didn’t even know I was good at. She challenged me to think in new ways about new problems and made me rethink my previous opinions, not to break them down, but to force me to make them stronger. She expected excellence, but always ensured I had ample tools to achieve it. She took time out of her day to review personal projects and give me feedback, when she wasn’t even my teacher at the time. She encouraged me to chase great things and made me believe I could achieve them. As I said before, in high school, I was dealing with mental illness and didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, but Mrs. Lotoski made me feel like I could actually accomplish something.
Lastly, Barbara-Ann Goodwin saw something in me that no one else, including me, saw. She saw talents and strengths I didn’t think I had, then forced me to act on them. She wouldn’t ask or consult me first because she knew I’d talk myself out of it. She just did things that compelled me to acknowledge that I had value and talent because she knew I’d rise to the occasion. One of my greatest accomplishments came as a direct result of her, and I will never forget it. She’s retired now, and we’ve lost touch, but I hope she is doing well and knows how much she impacted my life.
English and drama, Pigeon Lake Regional School, Falun
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Email managing editor Cory Hare: firstname.lastname@example.org.