Quality service-learning relies on youth ownership and agency, and those young people find success with the support of adult allies – very often teachers. For #TeacherAppreciationWeek, NYLC is recognizing our favorite teachers, the ones who made an impact and partnered with students to achieve something together.
Elizabeth: “My 9th grade Civics teacher. I’m not sure if it was the teacher, the topic, or that I was in that class while the Bush v. Gore election recount was happening, but what I was learning was so relevant and engaging and definitely influenced my passion of politics and social change.”
Kate: “English has always been my favorite subject, so my fave prof was definitely my high school freshman year teacher Ms. Sheka. From Antigone to Arthurian Legends, she always made learning interesting and, dare I say it, fun? I mean, we rapped Edgar Allen Poe poetry. Sheka even made Shakespearean sonnets bearable, no easy feat.”
Colleen: “Grace Raymond (who’s still working with Saint Paul Public Schools after all these years!) taught third grade at J. J. Hill Elementary. Every summer she graciously opened her home to dozens upon dozens of students who worked with her through a program she created called “Lights, Camera, Action!” Everything – from the set, costumes, music, storyline, and lighting – was student-directed and created. She ignited an artistic and collaborative spirit in us that we still carry today, some (nearly) 30 years later.”
Amy: “My favorite teacher was Mrs. Perman. She was my kindergarten teacher and to this day I remember her smile, her laughter, and her passion. She taught for more than 30 years and was teacher of the year in 1978. She was one of the most caring individuals I have ever met.”
Marcus: “For me it was Marc Engesether, who I initially connected with because he had, like me, spent his youth playing in garage bands – and he had a dry sense of humor with a direct line to my funny bone. My appreciation for Mr. E. has only grown with time, as years of perspective reveal just how good he was at motivating an underachieving student like I was.
Jason: “My favorite teacher was my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Dye. She always encouraged me to do my best and was supportive of my extracurricular ambitions. She was great at caring about students’ lives beyond the classroom and I appreciated her ability to connect with every student. I have fond memories of her commitment to school spirit!”
Taylor: “The teacher that made the most impact in my life is my high school calculus teacher. I was really bad at calculus, but every day I came in during his lunch time and got help. We write every week and he still gives me life advice and occasional help with my homework.”