I could go on for days about the teachers I have had the privilege of studying under in my lifetime. I remember all of their names, many of the subjects we studied and projects we worked on in their classes, and the way they ran their classrooms. I remember the way they treated me, encouraged me, and ultimately the way each of them left their mark on my life.
Today, we wanted to write a tribute to some of the amazing individuals my family and I were blessed to have as teachers throughout our lives. We had a hard time choosing just a few because we all agreed we had the best teachers ever! Hopefully this will prompt some of you to find and reach out to some of your own former teachers who have touched your lives. It’s the least we all can do for these people who have given so much and have received so little in return.
Coach Jerry Hudson and Elsie Hanes
My music teacher Betty Frazier! Also, Helen Hines who inspired me to become a Parent Educator because of her example of service and love for our family as our Parent Educator in Mexico, Missouri in the late 90s.
Mrs. Botts, 4th Grade: She really cared about all of the students individually and had one of the most enriching classroom environments I’ve ever been in. Singing around the piano, doing fun projects, reading all sorts of books, performing plays. I think of her often when I’m planning things for our homeschool.
Ms. Clark, 8th Grade English, Special Novels: She pushed me to branch out to more varied and difficult literature and to develop my talents. I developed my love of lesser-known Dickens and Austen classics in her class. She inspired many years of writing in my spare time.
Mrs. Bagge, Mrs. Love, and Mrs. Bennett: This trio helped me develop the most skills that I still use today. I learned so much about the arts from them but even more from their examples of selfless giving as they helped their students. They inspired me to work harder, to try new things and not be afraid to be myself. My favorite high school memories are from their classes.
Thank you to Mr. Heet, Mrs. Bagge, Mrs. Love, and Mr. Trinklein!
Mrs. Tallas, 2nd grade: She was fun and made sure everyone knew they were loved. She cared so much and made us want to work hard.
Mrs. Estes, 5th grade: She wrote us all postcards over each break to make sure we knew she was thinking of us.
Mrs. Patterson: 8th grade: She promised to bend over backwards to help us if we would just try our best, and she did.
Dr. Humm, Piano: She taught me that playing the piano was more than just playing the notes; that it could be an expression of great feeling. She helped me play through some very difficult times in my life and those lessons have stayed with me forever. The pieces I learned with her have great meaning to me because of the emotions and love she and I poured into them together.
Mrs. Blevins, 2nd grade: She was so supportive and encouraging in every subject, but especially writing. I finished second grade feeling like I could take on the world and be anything in life that I wanted to be. She was one of the best teachers I ever had about openly praising students and making them feel really great about their work and themselves. I still have some of the writing samples from her class and will always remember our Golden Corral party. I got to keep the sun from our classroom’s solar system that year and I had it hanging in my room for YEARS afterward. She was such an amazing teacher!
Mrs. Love, MS-HS Choir: I spent more hours with her than any other teacher I had by far. She directed our summer school plays, spent nearly every evening in the school year at play rehearsals, took us on weekends to choir events and competitions, and spent nearly every waking moment in the spring helping one student group or another with their music competition pieces. She pushed me, she helped me and I never had any doubt that she cared as much about me as much as she cared about my learning. Some of my very best memories were either with this woman or because of her and her work. I can never thank her enough for everything she has done for me. She is absolutely incredible.
Mrs. Bennett, GATE: Because I grew up in a small school, there were not many options for advanced coursework, especially through middle school. Consequently, I spent a lot of my time bored in class as teachers repeated course material for other students. Mrs. Bennett’s GATE class gave me time each week to get away from that and really expand my mind. She encouraged my own interests, pushed me to think outside of the box, and created a space for me where I could push myself to the limit without feeling self-conscious about failing or being wrong. She recently passed away quite unexpectedly and I am so sad that I did not take time before now to express my gratitude for her and all she has done for me.
Dr. Parker: I learned so much from the first college course I took from this professor that I eagerly signed up for the other three courses he taught the following semesters. His classes were more difficult than many of the other religion courses, but it was worth the extra work and time to me because I felt a difference in myself and in my life after every class. He opened my eyes to gospel topics and truths I had never considered before and helped me establish a regular pattern of scripture study. After two years of taking classes from him, I was blessed with the opportunity to work for him as his TA. He is one of the most genuine and caring people I have ever met. He worked hard, cared about his students, and loved his wife and children. I grew so much as a person working and learning from Dr. Parker and often reflect on the things he taught me and the example he set. You would be hard pressed to find a better man.
Mrs. Bagge, HS Drama: She was a like a teacher and a mom and a friend all rolled into one for me. I spent a lot of time with her in her classes, at play rehearsals, and at speech and debate competitions and she was always such a comforting presence. She has such a bright personality and makes you feel good just by being around her. She was one of the most supportive teachers/coaches of my religious beliefs and never complained about making sure I had sleeves on my costumes or missing Sunday performances in order to observe the Sabbath. Her classroom became a safe place for me; somewhere I knew I could go to get away from everything and recharge before re-assuming the weight of my high school world on my shoulders. I am grateful for all of the acting and performing knowledge I gained from her instruction, but even more grateful for everything I learned about being a good person.
Coach Williams, HS Track Coach: He worked with the distance runners and throwers on my track team, so I never got to work very closely with Coach Williams, but the things I did learn from him were invaluable. I had many coaches throughout my life since I played soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, lifted weights, and ran track and they all taught me things. But none of them pressed the importance of lifetime health like him, such as stretching and nutrition. Years after graduating from high school, I still go through my stretch routine when I workout because of everything he taught when we stretched as a team.
Mrs. Hough, HS Math: She truly cared about the students and recognized their potential. She would always celebrate our successes in extracurricular activities and in the classroom. I saw her at so many volleyball games, and she came to my plays, and then talked to me afterward to tell me how good I did. She even called home one day to let Mom know she was aware of our personal situation and offered to help explain concepts outside of class. She was constantly doing more to help those that were behind and also challenge those that were ahead. Mrs. Hough actually helped me to want to take more math classes, even though I didn’t have to!
Mrs. Gramke, HS Math: She always offered help to her students outside of class, often staying very late to make sure every question was answered. She would say hi to us in the halls and remembered our names. She made it clear that she had standards and held us to them, but also cared about us as individuals. It was an incredible balance that made me feel cared for, while also pushing me to do better.
Mrs. Johnson, HS Spanish/Speech Coach: She had this way of believing in everyone. Like every single person had talent and she would work with them on their piece as if all of us had the potential to go really far with our acting. I appreciated how invested she was in all of us personally, and she constantly pushed us to do better and do more. I appreciated that she didn’t settle for our minimal efforts, but really expected us to continually improve. When many teachers were just content with our lazy work, I always wanted to give more because she expected more.
Mrs. Love, MS-HS Choir: Mrs. Love would spend hours pouring over music with me, helping me to find the pieces that would best suit my voice. She would stay after class as long as I needed to help me practice. I will always be grateful for her efforts during class to make our choir sound really amazing! But I will especially treasure those after-school memories of being around her piano. She was kind, but blunt, which helped me to improve in the ways that I needed to. She would also always take and interest into what was going on personally, and talk with me about struggles my family was facing. I’ll never forget when she told me during a particularly hard trial. She said, “It’s going to be okay, because there is no other option!” That’s something that I’ve taken to heart in many hard circumstances.
Mrs. Bagge, HS Drama: She knew my name before I even entered high school. She would stop in the halls and say hi, or ask me how everything was going. Coming into her classroom everyday felt like a safe-haven! It was a fun learning environment and honestly she was one of the only reasons I went to school everyday. She was not afraid to talk about God with me, and that helped motivate me when I really struggled. She would always encourage me to do more and try something new, which helped me to feel more confident in my acting, and helped me to develop skills that I use literally every day! After I graduated, she has stayed in contact with me, throughout many adventures, and her support means so much to me!
Mrs. Bagge, HS Drama: One cannot simply read Bagge’s name and NOT smile. Drama was the most fun I had in all of high school. I could name every part and every play we did because they were all important. One year, I didn’t get the part I had been pining for and Bagge told me to be the BEST at the part I was given. She made everyone feel ‘big’ in her classroom. My junior year I wanted to go for a smaller part in Finding Nemo, but she pushed me to go bigger. Playing the part of Dory literally changed my life. I wish I could do it again! All of it. Nancy Bagge has changed my life; I have been changed ‘For Good’.
Mrs. Love, HS Choir: As a parting gift my senior year, I bought Mrs. Love a wood sign that read “All you need is Love”. It was a pun, yes, but the not-so-hidden meaning rang true to many students, including me. She was the rock of the fine arts at Hallsville. She fought for attention from people who were blind to the benefits of music. I came into her classroom scared and nervous for the years ahead because I felt inadequate. She worked me hard and showed me that there was always room for improvement. My success in music was from 1/4 talent and 3/4 training from Love. I only hope one day I can be as talented and as poised as Janet Love.
Mrs. Sides, MS Social Studies: 7th grade brings a lot of happy memories for me, all because of Mrs. Sides. She had me laughing constantly at how blunt she was with students. I remember skipping free periods to go help her organize her classroom. It was just so fun in there! She taught many of my siblings before me, yet she treated me as an individual. I was my own person. To this day, she constantly checks in with her students because she understands that teaching goes beyond the classroom. She’s one of the most caring teachers and people I’ve ever met!
Mrs. Johnson: I cannot thank Coach Johnson enough for her efforts. She literally transformed students who came into her classroom, including me. I wish she could’ve coached me a few more years, but the years I had her were a blast and successful.
Mrs. Love, Mrs. Bagge, Ms. Henke, and Ms. Williams, Fine Arts: My favorite teachers would have to be my fine arts teachers because they all have taught me so much more than any other teachers in my life. They’ve taught me how to fail and how failure is the only way to learn how to succeed. Not only have they taught me more than other teachers, but they also believed in me more than just about anyone else. I’m very thankful for that. So that’s why my fine arts teachers have to be my favorite teachers.
To these individuals and to the rest of the AMAZING teachers we have had in our lives, THANK YOU!! You have educated us, built us up, and shaped us into the people we are today. I can’t speak for myself, but I think my parents and siblings turned out to be pretty amazing. 🙂 Thank you for the hours of preparation, grading, cleaning, and sacrifice. Thank you for all of the projects you gave us, the directions you guided us in, and the words you thought none of your students were paying attention to. We are so grateful for everything you have done for us, and everything you continue to do for us through the impressions you have made. We love you guys!
Who is your favorite teacher? Comment below!