10 Teachers Who Changed Your Lives

For National Teacher Appreciation Month, we asked about the instructors who inspired you—and you answered!

10 Teachers Who Changed Your Lives

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Earlier this month, we asked you to tell us about the teacher that changed your life in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Month—and you came through with touching, funny, and inspiring stories. Here are the top 10 that transported us straight back to the classroom.


“My tenth grade psychology teacher’s student teacher! She sparked my fascination with how we learn, why we behave the way we do and how we can change. She set me on a path of greater knowledge which spurred me to discover my passion for helping others learn, grow and discover their passion.” —Shawn Simpson

“Mrs. (Kathleen) Schimmings. My infant brother passed away during my kindergarten year & my teacher mourned with me & my family. She was also kindergarten teacher to my older sister & 2 younger brothers. A most awesome caring lady.” —Mina Shike

“Mr. Hollenbeck my drama teacher. He used to throw chairs and temper tantrums but he was brilliant. Learned I could be overly dramatic in real life if I wanted to be but never on the stage.” —Terry Conway

“Mrs. Gooding was my swimming instructor. I was fortunate to go to a school that offered weekly swimming lessons. I was very afraid of the water. It took three years before I learned to float. She was always so patient, kind and encouraging. I finally trusted her guidance. I love to swim now. She was a blessing to me and a model of a teacher that I tried to be over the years.” —Arlene Uzmed

“My Mother. She was a teacher for 37 years. She was an awesome elementary school teacher. She inspired me to be a teacher also. I became a music teacher.” —Jacque Duxbury

“I have several teachers who changed my life in different ways. In elementary school it was Mrs. Ponder because she read to us every day. In junior high there was Mr. Fulton in math, Mrs. Collier in history (also read to us in home room study hall), and Mrs. Mashburn, who required us to read classics and give oral reports. In high school there was Mrs. Benton, who recorded our oral book reports, and Mr. Daughdrill, who used small group work to help us in Algebra II. In college there was Mrs. (later Dr.) Pertzoff at R-MWC, who showed me how to tell history in story form. It was my model for teaching history for the first seven years of my career.” —V.v. McIntyre Selman

“My first male teacher, Mr. Conway, in the 7th grade. He was strict but funny and a cool guy. He opened our eyes to different things. He questioned EVERYTHING. He made us think;if you cannot question it, why not. I still think of him when I hear Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. He played that for study sessions or desk work as we used to call it. I liked his methods and his demeanor. He was the authority figure for sure but totally accessible for discussion. I hope I emulated that in my teaching career because I am now a retired public school teacher. I still run into Mr. Conway sometimes!” —Mj Karner

first grade classroom teacher

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“This one had Mrs King written all over it from Marion Manor Elementary. she was one tough little cookie but you know what . . . we knew that she really cared about us learning! I love her favorite phrase”interesting interesting” while she pointed towards us with a pencil and looked at us straight in the eye.” —Mary Ruiz

“Mr. Snyder, my ninth grade Earth Science teacher at Yorktown HS. He was the first (and only) teacher that ever actually spoke TO me, and made me know that he really cared. I always remembered that. A really great guy.” —Cynthia Britton Palumbo

“I feel like I have so many! Mr. Kinter 4th grade Fremont Chargers. Sister Vera 7th and 8th grade Ramona Convent a home schooling teacher that I’m blanking on her name but showed me what I was capable of when I tried, Mrs. Tracy English/literature for introducing me to Elizabeth Barret Browning . . . I’ve been blessed.” —Jade Vargas

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