My quest for answers started with teachers from the Ottawa Catholic School Board. I started with the general question I wanted answered, and then narrowed it down in order to see if there was any correlation between their memorable teachers and their own teaching methods. This is what I discovered.
What made a memorable teacher for you?
Many answered that their memorable teachers were those who respected their students, and garnered the same respect in return through their teaching methods. They were occasionally strict, challenged their students, and had firm expectations for their class. However, they were also passionate about what they taught, teaching with love and joy for their subject. They infused humour into lessons, and engaged students in genuine conversations. They believed their students could succeed, and cared enough to bring them to this point, often reinforcing their love for a particular subject. They revealed how rewarding learning could be, and taught their students to appreciate their work, their life, and their words.
Does it have an impact on the way you teach?
"When I first became a teacher I was told to be tough and not to smile 'before Christmas.' If I didn't act mean and look mean then I would have no classroom control [...] I am not mean, and if I ever go a day without smiling then I am not being true to myself [...] My favourite and most effective teachers were good because they were true to themselves. As a teacher you have to figure out who you are and use that to your advantage" - Cheryl Ellis.
Some came to recognize traits and qualities in the people they respected and tried to emulate those in their own teaching, while others were impacted by the memory of how they had always wanted to be treated as a student.
Did it have an impact in your reason behind becoming a teacher?
All of the answers regarding this question depended on the individuals perception of how their teachers impacted them. For some, it was the idea of feeling that they could do better if they had the chance, while others took what they learned and carried that into all aspects of life, or knew they always wanted to be an educator and paid attention to the people that made the biggest impact. It's these instances that made these teachers enter the educational profession and emulate their own idols.
Photo Credit: Debbie Meijer
Samantha is an avid reader and writer, who finds relaxation in the imaginary worlds she creates. Her non-fiction work has been published for the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and she has won awards for her short fiction in the annual Remembrance Day Legion contest. When she's not writing, Samantha is sketching famous or familial people.