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The Gift of a Great Teacher


Did you have a teacher you loved as a child? There are many that stand out in my mind: my fifth grade teacher, several teachers in high school, one professor in college, and my advisors in graduate school. I liked different teachers for different reasons. Some were so clearly passionate about their subject that they taught me to love it as well – even though it wasn’t something I would have enjoyed by default. Others were frustrating initially, until I learned to understand why they did things the way they did. A couple of teachers I appreciated years later, rather than at the time. I most appreciated those teachers who saw me not as the person I was at that moment in time, but as who I could become – and who then helped me get there! I learned that there was more than one way to be a great teacher, but that all great teachers are passionate about what they do and care deeply about their students.

My daughter Emma had a fantastic second grade teacher this year! She was never loud or angry, and she made time for fun class projects and performances. She taught her students to express their feelings without falling apart, and told them stories of things she remembered finding difficult as a first grader. She said she loved teaching first grade, and it showed! It was amazing to see my daughter flourish in her class, and I hope that all of my children can have more teachers like this one in their lives!


My post today is one of many sponsored by Participant Media as part of a campaign to get people talking about their new TEACH documentary, which explores the question: What does it take to be a great teacher today? Directed by Academy Award Winner Davis Guggenheim, this film follows four teachers from across America who are passionate about their jobs. I used to teach high school, and I know how much work it is – and how rewarding it can be! I’m looking forward to seeing this documentary when it debuts on the CBS Television Network September 6th at 8pm ET/PT (TEACH will also air on the new Pivot network September 18th at 8pm ET/PT). Check out the Take Part TEACH website, watch the trailer, and let me know what you think about this film!


Did you have a great teacher in your life?

Thank you, Participant Media for sponsoring this post! 

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

23 thoughts on “The Gift of a Great Teacher”

  1. I think my favourite teacher was my freshman/sophomore physics professor. Almost everyone else hated his class, but I totally got it. Maybe that’s why they asked me to join the physics department. Currently I adore my children’s music teachers.

  2. Love the message of this. We should celebrate great teachers!
    I have several great ones too. The one that pops of for me most was my trigonometry teacher in high school who was so high energy and spent much of the class at students’ desks giving personal instruction.

  3. I had a number of great teachers and one college professor that I still keep in touch with today. I’m so glad Emma had such a special teacher.

  4. Thanks for sharing this documentary MaryAnne! I don’t have TV so I hope they release it on DVD soon. I love documentaries about education.

    I remember a few great teachers in elementary and high school, but most of my inspirational teachers were in college. I found that I was more interested in a class—no matter the topic—if the teacher was rated well by its students. Goes to show how much of an impact a teacher can make teaching any subject.

    1. We don’t have a TV either, so I’m hoping the same! It looks like an excellent documentary!

      I agree that the teacher makes or breaks the class, not the subject!

  5. I’ve certainly had several great teachers, I’ve also had some bad ones. The odd thing is one of my least favorite teachers was my friend’s favorite teacher of all. Just goes to show different teachers for different people.

  6. My 7th grade teacher for sure. Interestingly enough…eons later this same teacher ended up teaching one of my daughters in high school.

  7. I certainly remember my first teacher (she taught my class for 3 years) with great fondness. I have to make sure we’ll capture that documentary on DVR!

  8. I had an awesome third grade teacher and great math teachers from middle school to high school. It’s so nice to have those teachers you can connect with. Most of my in-laws are teachers. I have so much respect for teachers and all they do.

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