Eight Teachers I Appreciate

large_9944441985In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Day this year, I want to add a little twist.  I want to show my appreciation to the colleagues that most inspired me.

Justin Osterstrom. Justin is one of those classroom teachers whom I first met outside the classroom, but once I saw him teach I was in awe.  I’ve written in the past about those educators who choose to swim in the deep end, and Justin embodies this metaphor.  He pushes himself everyday to improve.  And he’s a great sounding board for my crazy ideas.

Jason Lineberger.  I have to admit that when I first met Jason, I didn’t like him.  It was an “alpha male” thing, I’m sure, but I think I felt threatened by his tech skills and his experience.  I mean, he’s a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing, professional-paintball-playing, augmented-reality-designing übergeek.  But, once you talk to the guy, his sense of humor is contagious and you can’t help but love him.  He has taught me SO much about how technology can engage and educate in new ways.

Debra Slyter.  We parents who work in education are often the most critical of our children’s teachers.  While we understand the stresses and responsibilities that burden teachers, we also can see the chinks in the armor.  In the end, though, we respect (perhaps even more so) those teachers who truly care about their students and go the extra mile to master their craft.  Mrs. Slyter personifies this ethic–continuous improvement and constant caring–more than any teacher my children have ever had.   I’m proud to call her a colleague.

Jonathan Wade.  It may sound like pandering to put my current boss on this list, but Jonathan has shown me that you don’t need to be in the classroom to have an impact on learning.  His broad view of education, and frequently ambitious goals for the profession, have inspired me to make small changes everyday and to ensure that I share what I know with those around me.

Tammy Ballard.  They say that those first few years in the classroom can make or break a teacher.  Entering the profession via a lateral entry program might have made my future as a teacher even more precarious, were it not for Tammy.  Ever the unflappable math teacher, team leader, mentor, and sounding board, she taught me not just to be a better educator, but also to be a better person.  Without Tammy I might have stayed in teaching, but I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.

Erica Speaks.  I never really liked the term “Devil’s advocate” because it implies that an idea is good and pushing back against it is somehow evil.  As the Yin to my Yang, Erica has frequently helped me shape (and re-shape) my views on policy issues and philosophical leanings.  Even when we agree, I find myself changed for the better thanks to her influence.

Bill Ferriter.  Knowing Bill has connected me with so many amazing educators, so I want to give him credit for much of my personal learning network.  But, of course, it’s more than that.  Never one to suffer a fool, Bill helps me cut through the BS and see what’s really true.

You.  By visiting this blog, and contributing your thoughts in the comments, you contribute to my improvement as a writer and an educator.  Thank you!

What teachers do you appreciate?

photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

One thought on “Eight Teachers I Appreciate

  1. So does this make me the Fiddler on your Professional Roof, Paul?!


    Hope you know how much I appreciate our friendship. SO glad that we connected in so many ways. I feel a synergy when we hang out that drives my thinking and leaves me energized.

    Hope we can get together soon…


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