How Have Teachers Inspired You?

Today is National Teacher Day, and at Sealevel, we know how important this profession is. We spend anywhere from 13 to 17 years (or more for higher degrees) in the education system, and our teachers play a big part in our lives. Some teachers, however, go above and beyond the standard curriculum, and can leave a lasting impression and shape our futures. Today, Sealevel employees share their memories of the teachers that inspired them.

Sarah Beasley, Vice President of Brand Strategy
I have so many memories of teachers, good and bad. One taught me to only take what you need from criticism. Others taught me to fall in line, come prepared, and that it’s not okay to lose your journal (noted but no lesson learned, I’ve lost a lot of journal type supplies). One successfully taught me basic principles of math, like fractions, in college. Yikes, I’m very bad with math! But the best lesson was the one that came when I needed it most. Freshman year of college at the University of South Carolina, I had one foot in college and one foot on the run. My French professor never gave up on me; she demanded my time in the listening lab where I watched French-subtitled movies that expanded my mind. She called on me when I was daydreaming in class, and in 15-minute long, challenging, all French-speaking interviews she told me “en Francais”: “of all my students you are la plupart (most) capable and the least likely to poursuivre (pursue) it”. It’s not the first time a French teacher had said this to me; my high school French teacher had seen same potential with diminishing drive. My professor held the mirror up to my face. I had to look at it and she was right, if I wasn’t going to be a Public Relations major with a French minor, what then? I eventually changed majors and found a subject I pursued passionately—educating children. And despite the fact that I landed back in public relations and marketing (and love it), my major benefits me in my primary role of mommy to my two young children, and as a loving aunt prior to my own babies.

Ironically, my dreams these days entail traveling to France…with a translator.

Joyce Bagwell, Accounting
I graduated from Tabernacle High School in Greenville. The teacher in my business classes was Mrs. Elizabeth Carper (Dr. Sightler’s daughter) and she was the strictest teacher you can ever imagine. But when you finished her classes, you knew the subject matter of the courses you had taken. I guess she’s the reason I have worked in accounting since I graduated from high school.

Leslie Edwards, Accounting
I really loved my 5th grade elementary school teacher, Mrs. Curtis. She routinely required several students to go to the big black chalkboard at the front of our room and write math problems. The class would then go over these examples together. I was very proud that she complimented how I always kept my numbers properly aligned. I’m still trying to keep all my numbers in order!
My tenth grade English teacher made us write and write and write. She demanded that we learn how to properly compose a paragraph with an introduction, three main points, and a conclusion. We all grew tired of the repetition. Years later, she accompanied a class of students on a tour through the company where I worked. I thanked her for teaching us a skill that I had used over and over. She deserved the credit for making that come easy to me.

My son’s first public school teacher was Mrs. Thompson. I was so amazed at how she handled a large group of children who were at various levels of preparedness in first grade. She divided them into reading groups so they could work at their appropriate level. The first day my son was not at school that year, she called me at work to find out what was wrong, assuming he was sick. She cared about him and also wanted to know what symptoms to watch for in her other students. A co-worker at the time told me not to expect that all teachers would be like that. She was right, of course, but we surely did enjoy and appreciate Mrs. Thompson that year.

A dear friend of mine is finishing her 33rd year of teaching high school English classes. She was a teaching veteran before I met her. I am constantly amazed at the time she spends preparing and grading her students’ work. She has taught the highest level of classes offered at the high school level and also some of the most challenged learners for a couple of years, after being challenged by her principal who wanted to give those students the best that he could offer. I know that she has volunteered for many school functions and related activities, more than ever required. She makes a point to attend sporting events, plays, and other events to encourage her students and show proof of her support for them, even beyond the classroom. She personifies “above and beyond” in her teaching. She will retire after the 2015-16 school year.

How have teachers impacted your life? Leave us a comment and let us know how a teacher has inspired you.

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