17 Reasons My Favorite Teacher Changed My Life
It only takes one person to make a difference in the life of another—and teachers are often that person. Check out these inspirational stories.
She was pre-med before a teacher believed in her as an artist
Courtesy Misha Kaura
“I was pre-med for most of college until I took an intensive art course my senior year called Textile Design. I had already been admitted to a top-three medical school and decided to take the course only to fulfill a general education requirement. I worked harder in that class than in my chemistry and pre-med courses—I spent many nights working on projects. After the course was over, my teacher took me aside and said I had enormous potential in the arts. Her encouragement helped me get an apprenticeship at Christian Dior Couture. I’m now one of the youngest top designers in the world, and I wouldn’t be where I am without her encouragement to chase the unknown.” —Misha Kaura, CEO and Creative Director of Darlinghurst Enterprises. If you or your kids are heading back to school, you need the right supplies. That’s why you should follow the 18 shopping secrets teachers use when buying back-to-school supplies.
A teacher’s praise made all the difference
Courtesy Colette Coleman
“I’ll never forget my high school English teacher and her encouragement. I had some teenage insecurities, and she consistently built up my confidence with praise based on my work in her class. She encouraged me to apply to Ivy League colleges, and though I initially protested, with her support throughout the application process I was accepted into several! This was a surprise to me, but she knew all along that I had what it took to get in. Without her encouragement, though, I wouldn’t have ever applied.” —Colette Coleman, founder of Coleman Strategy.
Her professor’s words of affirmation changed everything
Courtesy Rachael Lee Stroud
“When I was a student at Barnard College, I took a writing seminar. Anne Lake Prescott, one of the most highly respected professors at Columbia University, would teach us. We were instructed to write a two-page essay to introduce ourselves. She wrote back to me: You, missy, are a writer. I look forward to your novels and poems. I had been pre-med and this was what I needed—for someone to pluck me out of a crowd and whisper to me, “You can do this. You already are.” —Krista Suh, screenwriter, artist, author, and creator. Just as you want your child’s teacher to say the right things to your kid, there’s etiquette parents should follow when talking to teachers—and these are the 10 things you should never say to your child’s teacher.
A house fire left her displaced, but her teacher found room in her heart
Courtesy Froswa Booker Drew
“When I was in high school my home caught on fire, and due to smoke and water damage I had to move in with my grandparents. In order to deal with the enormous stress, my refuge became school and after-school activities. Sharon Settlemire, a fencing teacher, encouraged me to consider running for office in high school. Ms. Settlemire saw something in me and encouraged me to move beyond my comfort zone. I ran for Student Representative and to my surprise, I won. Having Ms. Settlemire was a lifeline.” —Froswa Booker-Drew, author and consultant.
Her teacher got her into a better school and a safer life
Courtesy Terina Nicole Hill
“One day in sixth-grade art class, my teacher, Mr. Dee, a larger than life man, read the names of the students who had been accepted into an art-and-music focused junior high school across town. When he read my name, my life forever changed. The local junior high was so bad, I would have had to deal with a dangerous environment of daily fights, stabbings, and shootings. Instead, I took three public buses to get across town daily to take two hours of art and honors classes.” —Terina Nicole Hill, designer. Sometimes teachers know your kids better than you do, especially when it comes to these 7 secrets about your kids.
He taught her to think her way through anything
Courtesy Francine DiFilippo
“I was a student having trouble with declaring my major and, as a first-generation college female, trying to decide what going to college would achieve for me. I was 19 and well aware that it was a ‘fish or cut bait’ decision I had to make. I was worried, but my Comparative Arts teacher Harry Miller told me that it didn’t matter. I would do well because I could think. When I am looking for new opportunities or evaluating ones presented to me, I know I can think my way to a good outcome.” —Francine Difilippo, PhD.
The five words from a teacher that still impact her today
Courtesy Olivia Cole
“In high school, I put together a book of poetry and fiction to read aloud in front of a large group. I broke down crying on stage. I collected myself and somehow got through the presentation. Afterward, my English teacher Cia White gave me a card that read: You are the real thing. Somehow she knew not only my greatest fear but also my greatest aspiration. I think about those words every single day. My second book, An Anatomy of Beasts, comes out with HarperCollins next year.” —Olivia Cole, author and blogger. Teachers have a talent for picking out students’ greatest dreams, and they want to make sure you know what they are. Here are 33 more things your child’s teacher wants you to know.
Her dedication left a legacy
Courtesy Steve Sonntag
“Mrs. Bernice Cannon was my high school Spanish teacher. It wasn’t anything that she said, but it was her continuous dedication and her continuous care to be thorough. I greatly admired her—so much so that I became a Spanish, German, Latin, English, and Academic Decathlon teacher and mentor teacher. Mrs. Bernice Cannon was and still is my inspiration, even though she last taught me 56 years ago!” —Steve Sonntag, retired educator.
Her encouragement helped him leave his comfort zone
Courtesy Joshua Lewis
“I attend an after-school program called Young at Arts where I learned singing, acting, and dancing. My favorite teacher at Young at Arts was Mrs. Whitney. She has changed the way I look at life in many ways. Before Mrs. Whitney came to Young at Arts, I didn’t really like dance and I was afraid to try anything I didn’t already know I would be successful at. Mrs. Whitney talked me through times when I was frustrated with not only dancing, but with singing, acting, or with life in general. She taught me that your attitude when working with others can be more important than your talent.” —Joshua Lewis, student. Everyone has heard inspiring words from a teacher in their life, just like these 19 inspiring quotes from teachers around the world.
Her love of the environment struck a nerve
Courtesy Stacey Natal
“My fifth-grade teacher, Ms. Larizza, was very progressive. She was into nature and ecology. She took a square patch of land near our schoolyard in the Bronx and taught our class how to create a garden. She gave us seeds and showed us how to plant and care for it. We went on a field trip to a park to look for dandelions to bring back to our class and make a salad! One thing that really stuck with me was when she explained how dyes were bad for the environment. To this day I only buy all white paper towels and napkins. She definitely made me more health conscious and aware of my environment.” —Stacey Natal, photographer.