Many of my teachers were awesome and truly had the best interests of their students at heart. Yes, there were about 3-4 teachers throughout my school days who joined my classmates in their incessant and obsessive bullying.
However, there were also those beacons of light, those rare gems, those sparkling jewels- those unforgettable and outstanding teachers who made such a difference in my life that I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them. Next to my mother and both grandmothers, these teachers helped me to see what I was capable of.
They were teachers who stood behind me when I was being bullied and who I believe were being bullied by other teachers and faculty because they were so impartial, fair, and the best with kids.
They could be tough at times, especially when they knew we weren’t trying and reaching our potential. These teachers were never abusive, but they pushed me and the other kids they taught to be their best, and I have the utmost honor and respect for them.
Sadly, one of those teachers is no longer with us.
Mr. Dennis Strayhorn- Although I wasn’t in his class long, he made such a positive difference in my life. He always encouraged me to push and do better and he didn’t tolerate laziness so he could be tough any time I give up and stopped trying. This man believed in me and knew that I could achieve heights that not even I realized I could reach at the time. Sadly, he passed away in his sleep in 2007.
I believe that he went peacefully and that’s what gives me comfort. May he rejoice in Heaven forever!
Mrs. Sue Toles- She also left a huge imprint on my heart. This is the teacher who, I’ll remember the most. She loved her students and she made it a point to take care of and stand up for us. She always looked out for us and had our best at heart. She too could be tough when we’d get lazy because she always knew that we could do better.
She never gave up on me even when I’d given up on myself and those are the things about a great teacher that leave lasting memories. I love her even today and still talk to her every now and again. Mrs. Toles continues to be one of my mentors.
Mrs. Sheila Dodson- This lady was an outstanding teacher. She’s the teacher I had when I first began writing my own stories and she encouraged me to keep writing because she believed it would pay off one day. She was right!
Like the other great teachers, she had no time for laziness because she believed in us and knew that we could do more than we thought. She always said that “You are the only person who holds you back.”
Mr. Raymond Neal- Mr. Neal was the comedian teacher and he always made class fun. He too could be tough when kids in his class got lazy. However, he was one of the few teachers who was empathetic to bullied kids and gave them the support and encouragement they needed.
With the Golden Rule posted above his chalkboard, he was a stickler about how kids treated each other and was quick to call bullies out when they’d come calling. He’s crack little jokes and make us laugh throughout the class period. He was the type of teacher who made you look forward to coming to his class and made you sad to have to leave it.
It is teachers like these above who are as rare and priceless as blue diamonds and they definitely did not miss their calling. Sadly, awesome teachers such as these are very few and far between. We definitely need more like them because they are a blessing to any child’s life and they leave such a lasting impression. These are the teachers who are unforgettable!
These are the teachers who truly make a difference, and, therefore, make not only the classroom, but the entire world, a better place!