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View Diary: * New Day * - Tell us about your favorite teacher, instructor or professor and how they inspired you (167 comments)

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  •  As a person who has had (16+ / 0-)

    extensive schooling, loved and thrived in school and for whom school and academic contexts have shaped large segments of her life, a question like "which teacher-instructor-or-professor was your favorite" is almost a never ending story.

    Note the almost...I'll do my best to be brief:

    My 6th Grade English teacher, Miss Maitland.  

    Miss Maitland was my greatest inspiration, making learning fun.  I will never forget the day -- Emily Dickinson's birthday -- when she came to school dressed as Emily Dickinson and spent the entire day in character, sitting in the front of the room in a rocking chair wearing a granny dress (it was 1972) with a shawl around her shoulders and a pair of wire rimmed glasses.  (She was about 24 years old then). She called us all "dearie" and told us not to make fun of old ladies or poetry, that it had great power.  I've never forgotten the teaching method or the message about how poetry can save a life.

    She left our school after that sixth grade year and moved to suburban Washington DC, where she later married and raised a family.  I know this because she kept up a correspondence with me for several years while I was in high school, thus being the first adult person who was not related to me to help give me the idea that I might be an interesting person outside of our socially proscribed relationship of teacher and student.

    There was also my high school track coach, Mr. Checci, who handled the terrain of teen-aged girls crushing on him with such aplomb and grace and was still able to inspire without crossing any inappropriate boundaries -- that proved a great lesson for later in life when I became an instructor and a professor myself.

    Several college professors and two grad school profs in particular, as well as an early senior colleague who really taught me not only how to think like a social scientist, but how to be a responsible member of the academic community in the fullest possible way.

    And I'd be amiss if I didn't note that as a member of multiple teaching and learning communities for many years of my life (including being a member of dk for 10 years now), I"ve been inspired not only by my teachers, but also my students and my fellow learners and colleagues, which is as it should be.  I've had the greatest kind of learning experiences and moments of inspiration from the many students whom I've had the pleasure to introduce to feminist theory, social movement history and the critical analysis of the practices of everyday life.

    I'll never forget the student from my intro to women's studies course who turned in her weekly comments on the readings on her mother's old recipe cards, as an homage.  She had photocopied all the recipes and then used the back sides to make her comments on the readings.  I had an entire set of family recipes by the end of the semester!

    That was one young woman who truly embraced the spirit of the course.

    Well, maybe this wasn't my best effort at "brief".

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:34:03 AM PDT

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