My Inspirational Teachers

I was watching a series of lectures online for my M.Ed courses and the instructor would introduce the class to one of his Top Teachers in each lecture.  The purpose of this is not to give credit or accolades, but rather to pick out the threads of what great teaching is.  What do great teachers have in common?  Where do they differ?  Why do they effect us so dramatically?  What lasting impression do they leave on us?  Why?

This is something I would like to know more about.  So, I have started a googledoc and I would like teachers from around the world to add their stories to it.  The document is public, and there is no requirement to leave names (either your teacher or yours).  I wonder what trends will emerge from the collection?

In the meantime, I'll get the ball rolling.....
Mr. K

He taught me science and society in my last year of high school.  Mr K knew I was not strong in the sciences, but he knew I liked to ask questions and write, so he encouraged me (phoned me at home before the year started) and pestered me to take this class.  Once in the class, I found that he had no interest in following the syllabus he had created and given to us on the first day.  he would bring in newspaper articles, magazine clippings, and photocopied chapters from books.  We would read, ask questions and talk.  That’s it.  No essays, no assignments, no homework.  Just talk about what we read.  There was a final exam, but it only consisted of one question; what did you learn in this course?  It was the hardest exam I have ever written!

The thing I loved the most about Mr K is that he didn’t care about anything (in this course) except for how well we would think and engage.  He knew every kid in that class so well, and he knew the material so well, that he could engage any of us in any of the topics we discussed.  He introduced us to things that were contested, issues that science is still debating.  He made us love science, but he also helped us question it as the only way of knowing.  If I could sum up his class in one sentence, it would be “there is more to the world than just laws and energy.”

As I have recently dove into the concepts of self-organization, complexity, chaos theory and system thinking; I find myself thinking more and more of Mr K, and how I wish I could be in that class again. (Craig Dwyer, CDN in Japan)