Back to School, With Your Favorite Teachers

It’s back to school to time!

For many of us, school was excruciating. But nearly everybody has a favorite teacher–some kind or wise figure who helped us turn a corner of some kind, when we were a kid. Share your story below!

We’ll start:

For me, I had a few favorite teachers, but the one that stands out is my old geometry teacher, Mr. Furr. He was an acquired taste for some, with a gruff exterior, but for me he was fantastic and I never saw a twinkle missing from his eye. It wasn’t just that he was a good teacher–though let’s be clear, he was, maybe the best I’ve ever had, in high school or college or business school–but also that he just seemed to have life figured out, in a way that I could get behind. He was collecting something like three pensions in addition to his school salary, and I asked him about it one day. He said he was teaching for fun. In the same conversation, he said he’d always had a dream to drive a Mercedes roadster. I said “Geesh, Mr. Furr, you’ve got three pensions. Why wouldn’t you just go out and buy that car?” And he said, and I will never forget it, “Sure, I could do that. But then I wouldn’t have a dream, now would I?” I never thanked him sufficiently, either, and the opportunity, I’m sad to say, is long gone.

User Comments

  1. August 12th, 2010 alcoa1961

    My favorite teacher was my math teacher. She was both inspirational and caring. We had one student who was persecuted by his peers. She took an interest to ask why people treated him unkindly.

  2. August 12th, 2010 Peter Allemano

    One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Meyers, who taught fifth grade at Westbrook School in the 1960s, when I was a student there. An old classmate sent me a photo of our class, and I’m going to have it restored.

  3. August 12th, 2010 SG

    My favorite teacher was my Math teacher in high school. It was due to his diligence and hard work, I came to understand and love math problems. I owe my bachelors and masters engineering degree in EE and CS to him. He made math problems fun to solve and gave us numberous examples to work on. And he solved almost all the problems in class rather than sending them as homework. That made a huge difference because we were able to see how he solves the problems and we could then use the same method to solve it. Thank you, HLR (that is his nickname).


  4. August 12th, 2010 Ken Kartchner

    Lob Collins. Gym and Health teacher, Farrer Junior High School, Provo, Utah.
    At an awkward age for almost everyone and a particularly excruciating time of my life, Lob (I just realized I don’t know his real name) was just what I needed. The first thing I remember him saying to me was, “Kenny, I’ll bet if you stand up straight you can’t see your feet below that fat belly of yours.” He was merciless on the playground, but in Health class, where he sat us in rows depending on correct answers to his questions, his approbation in the first or second chair helped me feel all was not lost. He taught us how to wash our elbows and walk on our toes. And when he saw how embarrassed I was at the obligatory dances, he let me study in his office. By the end of the 9th grade, I bought my first boy-size pants and I have never forgotten Lob’s remedy for a headache: “Get a jump rope, boys, and do a 100 fast ones.”

  5. August 12th, 2010 Bob Downs

    My favorite teacher was my high school band teacher, Mr. Ballard. He was very demanding of us and we learned to play and march quite well, even going to the Rose Parade. Mr. Ballard had a game leg but he would struggle to keep up as we marched in practice. But, he was always there and he cared. His caring meant that we all worked much harder than we did in our other classes.

  6. August 12th, 2010 Lisa M. Hodes

    My favorite teacher was my first and third grade teacher, Mrs. Balda, in the 1980s. She was an older, stern woman with cropped gray hair and sharp eyes. I was a very curious child with a habit of going through my parents drawers when I needed something for Show And Tell. On one particular day I found a birthday card at the bottom of my mom’s sock drawer that I believed was titled, “Public Hair Jokes.” I thought to myself, who doesn’t like a good hair joke? I brought it in to show Mrs. Balda. When I proudly displayed my piece, she turned red and asked where I got it. I lied and said my mom gave it to me. It was several years before I was able to understand why she didn’t believe me (she told me to put it back where I found it) after I re-discovered the card and realized I had misread the x-rated title.

  7. August 12th, 2010 dee-dee stout

    Though I can no longer remember his name, I certainly can remember the incident. One of my most powerful memories of a teacher was in my high school Algebra class. This man was the first teacher I ever heard state, “If the majority of you don’t pass this test with a C or better, then it’s not your fault, it’s mine as it means that I’ve failed to teach it to you in a way that makes sense to you.” I have been a college instructor for nearly 20 years and I still remember those words. I try to live up to that simple and powerful demonstration of good teaching every time I walk into a classroom.

  8. August 12th, 2010 Judith Radloff

    My favorite was my first and second grade teacher, Miss Kaiser. First, she let me start first grade when I was only 5 years old. She was a thorough teacher. Even though she didn’t have children of her own, she nurtured each of the 30+ students in our one room school (grades 1-8). Partly because of her great inspiration and model, I also became a teacher, and also taught in a one room school.

  9. August 13th, 2010 Sarah

    My favorite teacher was my first grade teacher. I felt that she was an adult who still remembered what it was like to be a kid. She made me want to become a teacher, myself!

  10. August 13th, 2010 mark phillips

    My favorite teacher was my 5th grade teacher. She was tall and commanding and strict. On one occasion, she asked my parents for permission to spank me. She had control of the classroom and I learned.

  11. August 13th, 2010 Jim Heid

    Mr. Bianco was one of my high-school English teachers. He also was the director of our high-school jazz band, in which I played piano. His love of language and music helped fuel my own passion for both those things.

  12. August 13th, 2010 Alex Roetter

    My favorite teacher was Mr. Rahman. I had him Sophomore through Senior year for Geometry, Pre Calculus, and Calculus. He had a great way of explaining the material, teaching us how to do proofs, and helping us to visualize calculus. He always put in a lot of time designing fair problems, and said some funny things along the way as well.

  13. August 13th, 2010 Brian Page

    My high school journalism teacher, Miss June Emmett was my favorite. She was able to get the best out of her students. I remember her always smiling even through trying times and newspaper disasters. She was just so uplifting and positive that everyone in the class dared not let her down. I had her for three years and she inspired me to always do my best. Since she believed in me, I knew that it was possible to succeed.

  14. August 14th, 2010 Patricia Sparks

    My favorite teacher was Ms. Archambeau in 7th grade. Things were tense at home with my father ill and my mother worried about him all the time. I acted out in school by turning in sloppy work and deliberately putting down wrong answers. Ms. Archambeau would not tolerate it and would send my work back over and over again, telling me that I was capable of much better. I ended up entering the Science Fair and winning first prize!

  15. August 15th, 2010 Cheryle St. Onge

    One of my many favorite teachers was Mr Childs. He taught us to focus on finishing a piece, even if at that point in our young lives we had long ago lost interest in it. Regardless, honor that work and complete it. As art is more than just a process or just fun, you are creating a lasting piece which requires hardwork and time and your devoted attention to the process.

  16. August 15th, 2010 Heinrich Hanada

    I just had two kids and looking through my old pictures when I was their age made me realize how important memories are – that’s why I decided to sort through all the old film negatives and have them digitized by ScanCafe!

  17. August 15th, 2010 Heinrich Hanada

    Among those pictures were many school pictures with my favorite teacher. In hindsight, I am impressed by how much she influenced me.

  18. August 15th, 2010 paul

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Fitzgerald in the 3rd grade. I went to a parochial school and most of the other teachers were nuns. The nuns were very strict and very disciplined. Mrs Fitzgerald was a welcome change. She was very kind and very patient and it was always a welcome break to go into her class and it made learning at least a little bit more enjoyable during that time.

  19. August 15th, 2010 Robert Cole

    My favorite teacher works in an elementary school and teaches the 4th grade. Her students love her as she makes learning fun for everyone. She is a terrific person and happens to be my wife.

  20. August 15th, 2010 Haleh Vakili

    My favorite teacher was my 7th grade history teacher who never taught history from the textbook but from his own personal experiences about WWII and other historical events such as Vietnam War protests, Woodstock and the hippie era!

  21. August 15th, 2010 Jerry Bowers

    Ms Roberts was my Senior English Teacher in 1961. My name was Jerry, but she always called me Gerald. I made a “G” on the 1st semester english final, but still passed. She made me get my grade after school. She cried and told me I was wasting my life by not studying. Her talk changed my life. She passed away before I received my Masters in Mathematics and another Masters in Computer Science. A cranky, old, english teacher changed my life and I will always remember her.

  22. August 15th, 2010 Ellen Hecht

    I had several favorite teachers, but one that stands out is Mr. Ron Jones, my tenth grade history teacher. He opened my eyes to the world and made history come alive for me. In fact, I still have the ungraded journal I kept in that class. Not only was he good at getting teenagers to question and think critically, but he also dealt well with teenage angst and respected his students.

  23. August 15th, 2010 Aprille

    Favorite teacher had to be my third grade one, Mrs. Phoenix. She was really tough but she always made the students feel really special when we accomplished our tasks. By the end of the school I remember the whole class being sad because of having to move on from her classroom.

  24. August 15th, 2010 Virginia Villa

    My favorite teacher was my High School Choir teacher. I was a kid who didn’t have much confidence in anything I did and he took a liking in me and realy helped me come out of my shell. He made me feel good about who I was and taught me how to be a more confident person.

  25. August 15th, 2010 Fred

    My favorite was my photography teacher, of course! I had only $100 dollars left in my bank to make it though the last month of school. He told me I would fail, if I did not print 16 by 20 prints for my final portifolo! I had no money left over after I bought the photographic paper! I stave and walk to school! Got an A and my work was shown at the National Gallery! Thirty years later I still respect him!

  26. August 15th, 2010 Chris

    My favorite teacher was my history teacher in high school who asked us to write what “freedom” was. What a great question to really make you think.

  27. August 15th, 2010 Kim Beyer

    Miss Diehl, third grade, was my favorite teacher because she taught us many fun things beyond the regular curriculum – like the word “psychedelic.” She also read us books like Charlotte’s Web and Winnie-the-Pooh.

  28. August 15th, 2010 Linda McNulty

    My fourth grade teacher was my favorite. She expected a lot from me. At the same time she used to let me out of class to go to the attic in our school to study a collection of beautiful stuffed song birds that someone had stored there.

  29. August 15th, 2010 Liz Pike

    My favorite teacher was my 7th grade science teacher – my dad, Mr. Kreider. He made learning about science fun and entertaining, and having my father as a teacher was cool, even at an age where your parents are NOT COOL. He was a great teacher and a wonderful father, and I have always been thankful to have him as both.

  30. August 15th, 2010 Linda Kopytek

    My favorite teacher was my Biology teacher, my sophomore year in high school. My mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage in the spring of that year–she was there one minute and gone the next. I was 15 years old at the time. Returning to school after the funeral was so hard to do but this teacher was so kind to me. He was patient and told me just to take my time with the assignments, etc. and said he understood how hard this was for me. I pushed through and finished the assignments along with my classmates but it was nice to know someone understood…

  31. August 15th, 2010 Rodney Spencer

    My favorite teached was my Math teacher Mr. Sherwin and his trusty freind “Sammy the Slipper”. Anyone not behaving in the class knew who Sammy the Slipper was. Mr. Sherwin’s desk lid would open slowly, just enough for him to reach in and get Sammy the Slipper and “Wham Bam” with the accuracy of a laser beam Sammy would find his mark – usually the upper torso of the person mis-bahaving! Yes, this was in days gone by of my school days in Liverpool, England when caning & “Sammy the Slippers” were an accepted form of keeping control in the classroom!

  32. August 15th, 2010 Willaim Jones

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Wright, who I had for both 5th and 6th grade. She gave us responsibility and made each student feel important in class. Instead of gym class, we would do square dancing one day each week. I secretly admit that this was quite fun!

  33. August 15th, 2010 Derek Steele

    One of my favorite teachers was Herb W., my electromagnetics teacher in college. He was demanding, kind, thorough, and organized. He was also soft spoken and had a musical, lilting Ghanaian accent. It was a pleasure learning from him.

  34. August 16th, 2010 Bradley Johnson

    Mr Schact, my high school science teacher, was the best teacher I ever had. He was instrumental in opening my eyes to my abilities and making me work hard. I can’t remember much about chemistry, but he help turn me from a C student to an A student. Mr. Schact also worked at the golf course through the summer months where I often played. I got to know him there as a person, not just at teacher. Great guy and one that I’ll always admire.

  35. August 16th, 2010 Wade Lagrone

    wow! that would spell L-A-W-S-U-I-T in pretty much any US classroom these days!

  36. August 16th, 2010 Fred Firestone

    My high school algebra teacher, Ivan Barker, was the most inspirational of the many superb teachers that affected my intellectual growth and development at Lowell High School in San Francisco.
    I am by nature full of intellectual curiosity and Lowell provided the resources for me to explore to my heart’s content. However, I am also by nature easily distracted.
    Mr. Barker, and his algebraic methods, helped me to become more organized and goal oriented.
    These traits led to improved academic performance and a lifetime of greater achievement for which I remain continuously grateful.

  37. August 16th, 2010 Marj

    My favorite teacher was my third grade teacher Mrs. Soul! I was new to the school and on my first day of school had a huge bandage around my ear as I had surgery a week prior. Most all the kids laughed at me and looked at me funny. She had a soul of a saint and always stood up for me as well as made me feel special. Funny I remember her giving me a Tiger Beat Donny Osmond poster on my last day of school. If it wasn’t for her kind soul who knows where I would be today!

  38. August 16th, 2010 Alex H. Nagler

    I distinctly remember my high school English teacher for one main reason: He would always get fantastic seats to the opera for free. I loved and still love the opera, so the chance to see the stars perform for free was amazing.

  39. August 16th, 2010 Sverre Roang

    Far and away, my favorite teacher was Mrs. Nehs–my high school math teacher. She made math, even calculus, fun and engaging. She approached teaching with true verve and excitement. Whenever teaching or mentoring others today, i hope to be one-half as effective as Mrs. Nehs.

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