Did you have a teacher who made a difference in your life?
This is American Education Week, when parents are invited to attend classes with their children and see firsthand what’s happening in our public schools. It also seems like an opportune time to think back on the teachers and administrators who made a lasting impression in each of our lives.
Whether they inspired us, set us on a career path or simply set us straight, we all have a story to tell about an educator who made a difference. My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Post, is one who comes to mind. It was in his class that we each got to build a model rocket and launch it into the sky above Fishkill Elementary School. I still remember the struggle with an Exacto knife, glue and more than a few tears of frustration. But I also remember the rush of creating something new from a mere bag of parts and a page of instructions. And I will never forget watching my rocket slip the surly bonds of earth in a whoosh of sparks and smoke.
My rocket landed somewhere, I’m sure, but somehow I can only remember it on the way up. The experience, and Mr. Post’s confidence that my 10-year-old self was up to the task, made the future seem open wide to my wildest dreams.
For more on teachers who made a difference, click here to hear my WAMD 970 AM Morning Show co-host Maynard Edwards interview a teacher who had a lasting effect on his life, Mr. Mike Thatcher of Harford County Public Schools.
Maynard’s remembrance of Thatcher follows.
In fall of 1989 in the halls of Egdewood High School I met Mike Thatcher. He was a young teacher, I was a freshman still trying to figure out who I was. Mike was kind enough to cast me as Seymour Krelborn- the leading man of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors”.
From that moment on, Mr. Thatcher became not only a teacher to me but a mentor and a friend. There simply is not space enough on this or any forum to list the myriad of things that Mike Thatcher taught me I say this without hesitation or reservation: without Mike Thatcher I would simply not be the person who I am today and most of the successes I’ve had in my career (and I’ve been blessed to have many) would simply not have been possible. Mike saw something in a scrawny, smart-mouthed, out of place teenager and turned him (read: ME) into something…well….let’s just say something a little more manageable.
But Mike is just one shining example of the best that Harford County Schools has to offer. There are many many teachers all across our county, our state and indeed even our country who have taken students and changed their lives for the better. Teachers who provide students with things that aren’t covered by text books: inspiration, motivation and probably even the occasional kick in the ass. For me Mike Thatcher gave me direction and it I am in his debt for that to this day.
I doubt there are very many readers who can’t look back and think of a teacher or teachers who changed their lives. I’m lucky enough to get to thank mine in a public forum.
My list of my own amazing teachers is easy to remember: Mrs. Gas from William Paca, my third grade teacher who was always nice to me, Mrs. Carol Mohr from Egdewood Middle who taught me how to stand in front of a crowd and speak, Mr. Geoff Winfield at Edgewood High who taught me more about music than anyone else.
And of course a special thanks to Mike Thatcher who changed my life.