A Really Fabulous Teacher

Every now and then I know that a blog post is going to have such fun comments, I am almost giddy writing it. My “french tipped nails” (I saw that somewhere recently) kind of skip across the key board like a jackrabbit across a dewy pasture. Yesterday the Wednesday crew of the Living Proof staff went to lunch at a Salada not far from our office. (Salada is the Luby’s Cafeteria of salads. I just rolled my eyes. Of course, I’d rather have Luby’s. Seriously? But, as sprouts and spinach go, Salada will do the trick but it can be pretty pricey for those on a ministry celery. Now, lettuce get back to the story at hand.) We’d just had a seat at a long table with our sprouts when my eyes wandered to a table across from us and a woman I could only see from the back. You know how you get that feeling sometimes, “I know that back”?

I knew this one.

I’d seen that very back saunter down the aisles of my classroom at Northbrook High School in Houston, Texas, about three hundred years ago. I stared at her until she turned to a profile. About the time I jerked forward with recognition, one of my coworkers asked me what I was distracted by.

“That is my high school English teacher. I had her for two years straight. Junior and Senior year. She was the best teacher I have ever had in my life and the very reason why I minored in English.”

“You’re kidding!” my coworkers chimed in.ย  “Are you going to say something?”

Just about that time, my person of interest and her friend reached over, grabbed their purses on the floor and prepared to get up.ย  That’s when I knew I only had a second to move on it.I hopped up from my seat, darted over to her, knelt down on the floor by her and said, “Mrs. Fanett, it’s me, Beth.”

(I don’t know why but I have tears in my eyes. I’m really in a silly mood but for some reason recounting this moment is touching a tender place in me.)

She responded just like you’d hope. She stood straight up from that chair, hugged me and sort of cupped my face in her hands, searching to find that seventeen year-old again. (OK, I’m really about to cry now. GET A GRIP. This isn’t Kleenex fodder, Birdbrain.)

After we greeted each other with equal warmth, I turned to my staff at the adjacent table and said, “Ladies, this is Mrs. Naomi Fanett. She is the best school teacher I have ever had.”

And for just a split second, we were no longer at Salada. Somebody grabbed the remote and pushed rewind and there all of us were, even my coworkers, in bell bottoms and short skirts in a classroom in Northbrook High School. Mrs. Fanett was teaching us how to appreciate a word fitly spoken, a word fitly written. She used her hands a lot and her eyes danced as she taught. There was something poetic about her. Something that made high school girls that hadn’t smoked a lot of dope want to grow up and teach English just like her.

I’m not sure why, but she liked me and, better than that, I knew it. It’s such a waste when you don’t. I don’t mean she seemed to like me more than the other students because she didn’t. She was too professional to show a lot of favoritism. She just had a natural affinity toward the kids that actually stayed awake in class and raised their hands for more than permission to go to the restroom. Of course, not many students had the gall to sleep in Naomi Fanett’s English class. It wasn’t that she was as strict as it was that she’d be so appalled. She commanded respect somehow and I never remember a single football player ever even belching in there.

When Mrs. Fanett searched my face for that high school student yesterday, I thought back to what she would have imagined. I had only moved from our beloved home state of Arkansas to the biggest city in Texas the year before. I’d gone from a 2-A school to a high school population a third the size of my entire former town. I had an accent as thick as the piney woods staring down on my tiny childhood home out in Ouachita Hills. My wardrobe was the only thing vaguely big-city-fied, thanks to the employee discount I got through my part time job at J.C. Penney’s. Despite all attempts to sound like I belonged, I only had to open my mouth and yawn for someone to say, “Where are you from?”

But I had a romance with English. And sometimes when Mrs. Fanett would pass out our graded papers, she’d lay mine on my desk, glance at me with the quickest smile and tap the red grade at the top of the page.


It wasn’t that I was good at English. It was that Mrs. Fanett was good at English. She excelled at what she did. She acted like teaching high school students was the most important profession on the planet. She fascinated me way back then. She fascinated me yesterday. Before we parted, she told me that she’d recently retired and that she and her husband (also a teacher) were traveling now.

And suddenly I had an uncontrollable urge to go somewhere like Tuscany.

With Mr. and Mrs. Fanett.

There ain’t nothing like a good school teacher. Tell me it ain’t true.

OK, I’m dying to hear about your favorite teacher. Bring it, Sisters. I’ll watch this baby all day.


657 Responses to “A Really Fabulous Teacher”

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  1. 1
    Lindy says:

    I was homeschooled. Therefore, by definition, my favorite teacher was my mother. She gave up such a huge chunk of her life to teach me and my brothers, because that’s what God was calling her to do. I’m so very grateful!

  2. 2
    Gayle says:

    Beth, I don’t have a favorite teacher to share at this point(would take more brain power than I have this morning) but I wanted to tell you I loved this post! What an impact teachers can have in the life of their students.

  3. 3

    I love this post. I, too found my favorite teacher from elem school. Her name was Sheryl Vasso. She not only was a wonderful teacher, but she hugged me. Something that I did not get at home. Oh, how I looked forward to her hugs every day. She was single and beautiful. Funny, the things we remember. She had the most beautiful nails. I loved when she clicked them on the desk. I, now have nails like that…except mine come from walmart in a box. None the less, I can click like Miss Vasso. I also used to try to mimic everything about her. I was able to honor her at a conference I spoke at on Connections. I even put her picture in my power point. I too became a teacher and taught for 15 years, until HE called me into women’s ministry.
    So, once again I will honor my teacher, Miss Vasso.

    • 3.1
      Siesta OC says:

      I heart this – ‘I can click like Miss Vasso!’ Wahoo! HE uses us to show such blessings to others.

  4. 4
    Brandy says:

    Ms. Mary Jo Roberts is an amazing teacher. She taught my English class for all four years in my small town Arkansas high school. I give her all of the credit for teaching me perfect grammar (even though I am slowly forgettting some of it) and instilling a love of all things literature. Great teachers are priceless. Thanks for sharing your story and giving us a chance to remember the fabulous teachers who were such a big part of our future success!!

  5. 5
    Shelly W. says:

    Oh Beth, this is such a wonderful story! And what a blessing that God had you cross paths like that. Too cool.

    All of my favorite teachers were English teachers, which is probably why I became one myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ But here’s the funny thing . . . we always started out with a rocky relationship (probably because I thought I had something to teach my teachers!), but ended up loving each other. Mrs. Poe was my favorite. She challenged me, she demanded a lot out of me, and yet she let me know I had value. She was one tough cookie, that Mrs. Poe, but she was certainly the best teacher I ever had.

    Thanks for this!

  6. 6
    Laura says:


    I have about 5 teachers from elementary to high school that I look back on and think, wow, they worked SO hard to ensure my learning in their class.

    I became a teacher myself (I’m about to start my 7th year) and now have such a bigger appreciation for all of my teachers. Who knew all the work that they had to do?!?

    I’m so glad that you had the guts to talk to your teacher yesterday. I always hope that someday I will have a student do the very same thing to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good one!

    p.s. You should start reading my blog. I’m almost as funny as you! http://www.theshermanshoutout.blogspot.com

  7. 7
    texatheart says:

    Oh how funny.
    My favorite teacher I ever had was my 5th grade math teacher, Mr. Casterline. He was such a fun teacher who believed anyone could do math. I had just changed school district’s in Dallas where my 4th grade teacher did not enjoy math at all. When I walked into Mr. Casterline’s classroom we were suppose to know our multiplication facts. I DIDN’T! He sat me in the third row of desks, second seat. He sat in the first seat of the third row. He told me “My dad knows your dad and I can’t flunk you, so I am going to help you get this stuff!” I received my first D in his class on that first report card. From then on A’s and today I work with elementary kids who just don’t get math. (By the way, I ended up 5th grade math champion!) I loved the way he flipped quarters from his elbow catching them in his hand or having up put our heads down as we try to guess when 1 minute has passed. Most of us made it about 25 seconds and then our heads popped up. He was just such a calm sweet teacher.

  8. 8
    Michele says:

    Haha Beth you are so fun!

    Every time you mention a cafeteria it reminds me of your carrot salad story – “Is there NO END to this carrot?”

    • 8.1
      Michele says:

      ps – I don’t have any good teacher stories from hs/college, but you are definitely my favorite teacher EVER. God has used you to minister to me and teach me in so many ways.

      I could write pages about how I identify with you, all your fabulous qualities, and how much I admire and respect you, but I’ll just say

      I love you, MamaBeth!

  9. 9
    Jill_in_AL says:

    So many favorite teachers….one that stands out the most is Mrs. Bond who was one of my college instructors. She had taught at Auburn so long that she was “grandfathered” but I should say “grandmothered” in from not having to have a PhD. She was about the age of my grandmother and loved us all. I took about three courses in my major field from Mrs. Bond. She lived at 310 Denson Drive and made us memorize her address so we could write her letters in later years. Twenty years later I still remember her address–wow!

    She was quick to give a hug, admonish, correct and encourage us on to be the best student in the class. She wanted us all to be the best! She shared subject matter but also her family, her church life and family life with us–something that college students far from home seem to appreciate. God bless Mrs. Bond but I’m sure by now she is probably with Jesus.

    PS Maybe I will make some calls and check on that today.

  10. 10
    Deb Owen says:

    Mrs. Woodruff. 7th grade. Tennessee history. Hands down.
    We moved a lot but during these three years of my life, we lived in Tennessee.

    And that woman lovvvvvved Tennessee history. More than that, she lovvvved Andrew Jackson. I swear she looked like a shorter version of Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith show, but she had way more spunk. I remember her regaling us with a story and literally jumping up on her desk with her hand holding up an invisible brandished sword. I remember her telling the tale of the Bell Witch with such enthusiasm you’d swear you were watching a movie or something. She did make me love history. That much is true. And I still remember what she taught us about Andrew Jackson, and that’s saying something.

    With my unending love (and study of) English and Music, I wish it was one of those teachers. But nope. It was my 7th grade Tennessee history teacher. She was just awesome.

  11. 11
    Rebekah says:

    Mrs. Owen – had her in 11th and 12 grade for Chemistry and Physics, respectively. She was the teacher that most people hated because she actually made you do your work and work hard, but I had nothing but love for her. Because of her, I know how to convert things using the ‘Fence-post Method’.

    I hated Physics but I loved that class. That’s a real teacher. The one that can make you love a class even if you hate the material. She moved from our small-town high school a few years after I graduated and I heard that she was teaching at a local community college but I could not find her in their online directory.

    Wouldn’t you know I went to ‘like’ an old classmate’s status about 2 weeks ago on Facebook and there was Mrs. Owen.

    She had commented on the status and I friend requested her immediately and then sent her a message to which she responded just as fast and it made my day. I’ve thought about her often over the past 8 years and it’s so nice to be in contact with her again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    If my Dad knew how to work a computer, he’d tell you about Mrs. Penniger, or Mrs. Durio. If I’ve heard stories about them once, I’ve heard them a thousand times!

    Thanks for sharing Beth! I’m so glad God blessed us with memories! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. 12
    Deborah C says:

    My Mom.

    She’s technically a “PSA”, not a teacher, I don’t know what the equivalent of that is in the USA, but basically she works one-on-one with children who need extra help – reading, discipline, behavioural, physical issues. She’s been spit on, swore at, yelled at, kicked no doubt – there was 1 time she took 3 days off to recover from something so nasty a child had said to her – and has continued to love, hug and help many a child (and teachers too, I might add) who just needed to know they were loved. I know she has MADE A DIFFERENCE.

    If there is a child out there who needs extra love and attention, I pray that they would get someone like my Mom. Her name is Susan, and I am so blessed to have her.

  13. 13
    Misty says:

    I’ve had so many wonderful teachers, but I would have to say that my favorite was “Coach H”. She was truly a teacher for the gifted program at the school – NOT that I was in it ๐Ÿ™‚ – but she also coached those elementary students who were in the spelling bee, hence “Coach”. She was beautiful and poised and friendly and encouraging. She worked so hard to help us to reach our goals…and I remember being surprised one evening when we (as a group) had a special outing and we met at her home. Her husband was not at all what I had imagined and she seemed a totally different person – he was rude, cold and domineering. I never forgot that night. Once I moved on to high school and eventually graduation, I never forgot her – I tried on several occasions to find her but I was just not able. Then I learned that she had remarried and was living in another city. I was so excited! I invited her to my wedding shower and I didn’t even get to see her – she was able to come (during set-up) only long enough to drop off a gift: a set of beautiful crystal swan candleholders. Though stored away, I still treasure those candleholders and wish that I coud find her again to keep in touch. I pray that she is well…and that she is still blessing those around her.

  14. 14
    Jennifer says:

    My favorite teacher was my kindergarten teacher. We still send Christmas cards to eachother every year and I am now 29 years old!
    Also, side note, but my dad went to high school with you and so did my mom’s boss! Go Raiders!!!

  15. 15
    Susan B. says:

    Mine was my first grade teacher, Miss Allen. I can still see her now in my mind. She had short dark hair that she wore in an “up-do.” She was young, and she had leg braces from a childhood illness. She was so sweet to me – an only child who had a bad case of mamma separation. I remember learning to read about Dick and Jane and Spot. But mostly I remember a sweet teacher who cared about me.

  16. 16
    Lindsay says:

    That is such a neat story!! One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Tuttle. She was my math teacher which makes it funny because I AM HORRIBLE at math. Horrible is even an understatement. Anyway, she was also our cheerleading sponsor. I was her student assistant senior year, so I got to know her well. One thing I will always remember about her was when I was in college, she supported me on a Campus Crusade summer project to Myrtle Beach. How cool that a high school teacher … who I hadn’t had in a few years … would support me on a trip that was 100% about Jesus. It made me like her even more. I see her every now and then when I’m back in Nebraska and it makes me smile and thankful!

  17. 17
    Lauren Bates says:

    First of all, Siesta Momma, you made me laugh with all your “corny” salad lingo… you are such a bright light on a rainy morning!
    My Mom was a teacher for 27 years, and I really believe once a teacher, always a schoool English teacher. teacher. And I have had some wonderful teachers in my life… from my first grade teacher who lined us all up (the whole class) to “paddle” us for misbehaving, only to give us a pat on the back while saying, “You can do better” to the high school Calculus teacher who sang the formulas to us… but my all time favorite would have to be my high school English teacher. By the time I had her as a freshman, Mrs. Murphy was almost ready to retire, but she still looked like one of the students. She was that teacher who selflessly volunteered of her time after school, sponsored Student Council and helped with prom decorations, and with her husband ran a photography studio on the side. Mrs. Murph loved her job, and she loved her students. One of the saddest times of my high school years was when her husband died from a brain tumor… not just because he had been a fixture in our small community for as long as I remember… but because of the incredible sadness in Mrs. Murphy. But she was strong, and she continued on. When she retired, she wrote her journalism class (I think we were her favorites, but like your teacher she wouldn’t have let us know that) that she thanked us for letting her be a part of her life… now how cool is that for a bunch of sixteen year olds? I thank God for good teachers… they help make us what we are today! And what I have to add to your blog is… isn’t it just the neatest to grow up and REALLY have their approval… I think it must make those teachers sigh and say, “They really were paying attention to what I was talking about when I thought they were daydreaming”!
    Thanks so much for your thoughts! Prayers for you and all you do =)

  18. 18
    Shawna says:

    Okay, this is cheating a bit – because the first thing that popped into my mind was Imogene Rumpee – who was the pastor’s wife, Sunday School and VBS teacher at the church I attended in my youth. She was fabulous and the year that we did Esther in VBS – rocked my world. She would tell the story every day – and had us hanging on the edge of our seats. You have to realize it was 1975, and VBS was held in the basement of our church — think musty, smell of propane, stale saltines for snacks… you get the picture… But when she got to the part where Haman lunges at the queen on the couch, I think all 40 of us gasped and lost our construction paper crowns. She could capture children with story – and more importantly speak so beautifully to the fact that only Jesus should capture our hearts.
    I have volunteered in children’s ministries for over 20 years now -and any time I get a compliment about how I engage the kids when I teach… I think of Mrs. Rumpee…

    Great post Beth!


    • 18.1
      Siesta OC says:

      Thank you for sharing! I laughed out loud when you talked about construction paper crowns a flyin!’

      Its wonderful to have teachers in the church when you are a kid. I remember one that taught me a song about the books of the Bible, I can’t remember any of it except that part that says, “Paul’s epistle to the Romans.” Interesting that Romans would be what stuck!

  19. 19
    Janalee says:

    I have never left a comment before, but just had to let you know of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Stutzman. I am left-handed living in a right-handed world! In second grade Mrs. Stutzman made sure when I began writing that I learned to be proud of being left-handed. So many left-handed people had no one to teach them how to write properly and they end up with a very uncomfortable looking twist to their arm when they write. Mrs. Stutzman has been with the Lord for some time now as today her former student turns 55, but I think of her often.

    • 19.1
      Beth says:

      So happy to have you comment, Janalee! My husband was left handed but was made to write with his right hand. You ought to see how his penmanship leans to the left.

      • Darcie Lyon says:

        that’s funny since my husband was right handed and made to write with his left hand. No one can read his hand writing. I always have to fill out paperwork for him.

    • 19.2
      Roxanne Worsham says:

      Happy Birthday, Jonalee!

  20. 20
    Jamey says:

    My third grade teacher was my favorite. I had heard stories about her since kindergarten, and I was convinced that she was the strictest, meanest teacher in the whole school. I dreaded being in her class until she started the year with a really fun group project researching whales… She was structured and held high expectations for us, but she was not the witch that others had described her to be. I grew up a lot that year and thoroughly enjoyed school. I think she is part of the reason that I am now an elementary school teacher. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. 21
    Emily says:

    Oh, I love this! I homeschooled my kids this last year and have agonized over the decision to put them in public school now that we have moved to a better school district. Anyway, one of the things that I have thought about so much was the wonderful teachers I had growing up. We moved the summer before I started 3rd grade (the same grade my sweet firstborn will enter this year) and I had experienced a lot of heartache over 2nd grade. I had no confidence, no self-esteem, no nothin’. I thought my 2nd grade teacher lived to make me miserable.

    Well, 3rd grade changed everything for me. Mrs. Hicks was my teacher and she LOVED reading and writing. We would get to have reading days every now and then on Friday when we could bring our sleeping bag and all of our favorite books and spend all day reading. It sparked such a love for reading in my heart. Then, I wrote a story one day about a ghost and some corn (I wasn’t sanctified yet ๐Ÿ™‚ and she went on and on about my book. She acted like I was the greatest thing since Hemingway and I found a confidence I had never known. She actually encouraged me to write a “book” and she made sure it got typed, illustrated (by one of my talented classmates) and bound. It is still in my elementary school library.

    I think I am going to go write a blog about her right now so she will know that she did more than spark a love for reading and writing. She made me feel special and like I had something to offer the world. Aren’t good teachers the best? I will definitely be spending more time on my kees this year for the teachers out there that God will use them in such a way!!

    Thanks for this post!

  22. 22
    Melody Reid says:

    My favorite teacher was my high school creative writing teacher, Gloria Webb. She taught me the beauty of the written word and how it could have impact. I also loved Lynn Ravine, my 10th grade composition teacher. Even today, I can’t bring myself to end a sentence with a preposition! Thanks Ms. Webb and Mrs. Ravine!!

  23. 23
    Beth says:

    My favorite teacher is Mrs. Breen. I was lucky enough to have her in 3rd grade and then again in 5th grade because she changed grades. I was a little bit of an ugly duckling, but Mrs. Breen saw through that and loved me anyway. She would compliment my jacket or my state project or just give me a hug on a Tuesday when I was feeling a little blue. Now that I am a First Grade teacher, I try to do the same for my sweet children because I know how it felt to have the love of another adult besides your parents.

  24. 24
    Crystal says:

    My favorite elementary teacher was my Kindergarden teacher, Mrs. Ebendick. She was so sweet, and kind and warm and caring! She was absolutely the perfect kindergarden teacher! And she still teaches! My good friend just sent her daughter to kindergarten where I went to school and her daughter had Mrs. Ebendick! My favorite high school teacher was my Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Hott! She was so sweet and so fun and an incredible, godly woman of the Lord! And for someone like me who normally could not stand science class, she made it one of my favorite classes! She showed us how to make fire turn green on St. Patricks day and she pointed all of her lessons back to the Lord and His creation! I hope that my kids are blessed with wonderful teachers as they begin their school years!

  25. 25
    Julie says:

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Bryant, my 5th grade social studies teacher. She was a tough teacher but she not only taught me social studies, but life skills to boot. She taught me how to think for myself and how to listen. She also gave me a love of words.

    She would challenge me to stop and ponder the questions she asked, and how to be courageous enough to stand and defend my beliefs. When I would write a paper, she would give it back to me with her comments (not directions) and have me rewrite it. (Remember, back in the 60’s & 70’s we didn’t have computers so we had to REWRITE it by hand!) She knew I could do better and she drew that out of me. I love words to this day – and especially love to find the origins and meanings of words.

    (I was not a Christian then – but thinking back I believe she was.)

    When I was in high school back in the 70’s, she was killed in a horrible car accident with her new daugher in-law. I cried for days. Seems like another lifetime!

    I now teach (after losing my job 3 years ago) 3rd-5th social studies and science in a private school in GA. I often talk of her in my classes and I share with my students what she taught me. I desire the same for my students.

    Julie – GA

  26. 26
    Donna says:

    My best teacher was in nursing school. As looks went she was way outdated–hair/clothing, etc. and many made fun of her and didn’t like her (She was strict about us future nurses really KNOWING what we were doing).

    As love and respect went–she was awesome. As a single middle-age woman she adopted a small family of children from foster care at a time and location where it was not thought highly of a white woman adopting a family of color. She taught me as a nurse to meet my patients where they were, in whatever circumstances and to respect them for the people they were–not judge them.

    As a teacher she taught me skills I used repeatedly as I taught other nurses. My first injection–pre-op medication to a professional football player who was scared to death ๐Ÿ™‚ Outside the room we rehearsed what I would do. When we entered the room this little bit of a lady told him to turn over on his stomach and grab on to the headboard of the bed (are you picturing this?). When my shaking hands went to give the injection I was in the wrong spot and she gently put her hand over my hand, moved it to the correct location and shook her head to go ahead with the injection. NOT ONE WORD spoken to me that indicated anything other than great confidence in my abilities. Outside the room she went over why she had moved my hand–I learned and still felt good about my experience.

    I will ALWAYS remember how she taught me to teach others and correct their inexperience while maintaining respect others will have for them.

  27. 27
    Deb says:

    I can imagine that Mrs. Fanette was very pleased to see her former student too! Wonder if she’s read any of your books or completed any of your Bible studies?

    My daughter is a teacher and I hope that she has a positive influence on her students’ lives as well.

  28. 28
    Heidi says:

    I attended school in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota in the sixties, graduating in 1973. I can hardly remember most of my teachers, but the two that stand out in my memory were both men–of all things! The first was my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Hartfiel. The second was my 11th grade history teacher, Mr. Turnwall. They are my favorites not because of what they taught me, but because I could tell that they genuinely liked me(not in a wierd way or anything). I am a second grade teacher now and it is interesting that my teaching philosophy centers on the fact that kids may not remember what you taught them, but they will remember if you cared about them and if you believed in them. And that even includes disciplining them fairly. I still liked Mr. Turnwall even after he called me out for talking (probably constantly) during class. I experienced one of my most humiliating experiences in that class when he told me to go stand at the back of the room and put my nose on the bulletin board. After that, guess who never talked when she wasn’t supposed to in class? Both teachers helped me develop confidence and security and I’m sure taught me some valuble academics. I hope and pray I do the same for the students I teach.

  29. 29
    Dori says:

    Oh, Beth…I’m ON IT!

    Mrs. Constance (Connie) Hill was my very favorite teacher in the whole wide world!!! (That’s how I talked when I was in her class…in 3rd grade!)

    I loved her because she loved me right back. I needed a lot of love that year. Just the year before I had moved from one school to another. My grandparents divorced and my grandmother and my aunt moved in with us. My mom gave birth to the most beautiful boy in the world and discovered only 6 short weeks later that he was severely impaired with Cerebral Palsy. My uncle had brain surgery and also moved in with us for a short time. I call it the year that I took the back seat to everyone else on the planet. I’m not bitter — my parents were BUSY…had their hands full. Life was hard. God was good. Period.

    But Mrs. Hill made me feel like I was important and that I mattered. She listened to my silly stories and complimented me on a job well done. She told me I played the xylophone with the extra key (a B flat to be exact) better than any student she had ever taught! I made my cursive D wonderfully, but needed to work on my F and T. She taught us how to make globes out of balloons and newspapers and glue which I remember as if it were yesterday. She didn’t come down too hard on me when she caught me passing my “I like you. Do you like me? Yes or No” note to Jeff Grooms. Life in the 3rd grade portable with Mrs. Hill was an escape, of sorts, from a life at home that was sweet in so many ways but hard to deal with in many ways…especially when you are 9.

    I went back until I was in the 6th grade every afternoon and graded papers for Mrs. Hill. She always had a Dr. Pepper (in a bottle) and a bag of Andy Capp Fries waiting on me. I loved that she trusted me to grade her papers. But I loved that she sat and talked with me while I did it.

    She cared about me in a way she really didn’t have to.

    I think about her often. In fact, I thought of her yesterday and wondered if she might be computer savvy enough to be on facebook. I think she is in her 80’s now and I have no idea where she is, but I search every now and again just to be sure.

    I wonder if she knows?

    I wonder if she remembers?

    I hope she knows how wonderful it was to have someone who did not grow weary in doing good to a little freckled-faced, awkward, 4-eyed, hand-me-down wearin’, oftentimes lonely 9 year old.

    I wish I could buy her a ice cold Dr. Pepper and bag of Andy Capp Fries. I just might do that if I could!


  30. 30
    Jen says:

    As a teacher of precious little kindergarteners in Egypt and formerly Pre-kindergarteners in HISD, this is the BEST thing a teacher can hope for! I hope my babies remember exactly how much I loved them to pieces, even though they’re so young.
    My favorite teacher was actually one of my education professors at A&M, Dianne Goldsby. My table was feisty, silly, and rightly and lovingly named the “bad table”. We simply adored her, and I think she adored us too. She opened this world of new thinking and showed me that math CAN be fun for kids. She was fiercely protective of me. I had a hard time student teaching and I remember her coming into my class (while stopping by my school to visit some of her current students) and telling the kids they’d better listen to me because I was a great teacher and had amazing things to show them. She said it with this quiet and calm dignity that silenced the class immediately. I have never loved her more than that moment. One day, when I had a particularly bad day, I headed to her class after school got out and sat and listened and remembered why I wanted to teach. She kept me going. This year will be my 7th year to teach, and thanks to her, I think I’m pretty good at it. Thank you Dr. Goldsby!

  31. 31
    Susan says:


    What a great story – thanks for opening the book on teachers! My most beloved teacher was Miss Betty Jo Goddard who taught me 5th grade. She appreciated me, encouraged my strengths, and had a very calm, peaceful way about her. When she looked at me, it felt like she really saw me. The real me.

    The Lord knew I needed her, because my teacher in Grade 4 didn’t like my “type” – I was quiet and book-ish, a bit shy (I’ve long since grown out of that, and at age 51 you’d never guess I was the same girl) – and she obviously didn’t do a very good job of hiding it. I’m thankful for all Miss Goddard taught me, but mostly for how she influenced how I looked at myself.

  32. 32
    Jasper says:

    Hi Beth. Thank you for your passion for our Beloved! I wanted to know where you got that beautiful brown coat you wore in your bible study on the “Guarded Heart”. I can’t find it anywhere and I love it is is so cute. Thank you my sister, my friend-Jasper

    • 32.1
      Beth says:

      Jasper, describe it to me a little more. I can’t think which one is was and I don’t watch myself on Wednesdays. Grin. I don’t mind telling you at all so just give me a few more descriptions.

      • Jasper says:

        Ok, it was all the way up to your neck, a medium brown, with two cute little pockets on either side, it was just lovely and browns, yellows, tans and blues are my fav! I wonder how you find the time to post on here Beth. The last twelve years I had been traveling and working with churches and ministries, doing counseling in between and writing. But I also love that you “make” the time, you are “reachable” to the women and that has been a rarity, for what I have seen anyway. When I lived in Jerusalem a jewish believer gave me the best compliment anyone could ever ask for, she said “you are the real thing” you are not so far away from the people that they can’t relate to and with you, what a gem Beth! She said I was the same at home, in church and with people, I didnt act a certain way in any of the above mentioned. Anyways, I have “hidden away” for quite some time and when I hear you speak there is a fire that gets “poked” in my heart. I have been restless lately. Well, listen to me go on, I hope the few details about the coat bring it to mind for you, it was so darling. Oh and one morning when I was having a particularly hard time with one church and told the Lord, for the millioneth time, “that’s it I give up” I heard Him singing in hebrew, a beautiful baritone voice. I was instantly at peace, then I asked Him to sing it in my language, it was the song, “You are my sunshine”. How sweet is our Ishi?

        • Beth says:

          I am working from home so I just ran to look in my closet. Melissa gave it to me for Christmas two Christmases ago. It’s from Anthropologie and the garment tag on it says “Field Flower.” Maybe you can find it on line! It may have been kind of pricey because the girls tend to splurge on their mama for special occasions.

          • Jasper says:

            You are so sweet! Thank you and why wouldn’t your girls splurge on their mama:>

  33. 33
    Teresa says:

    Loved it and started the day with a cry…can you imagine the teacher that taught BETH…The BETH that has put more important words and thoughts on paper, that has touched more lives, that has as good a command of the English Language…and others too, of anyone I have ever known….and this teacher had a part…a beautiful story…My husband was a Texas football coach for 30 years and nothing touches our hearts like seeing a former kid DO WELL and then come back and say thanks….
    I will think of this story all day…..


  34. 34
    Lawan Rivera says:

    What a great story. I do believe my favorite teacher, besides my Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Refune, was my kindergarten teacher, Miss Ellison. She was so nice and helped me feel special! I really didn’t like school for junior high and most of high school but fell back in love for college!



  35. 35
    Lyli Dunbar says:

    A teacher who had a great impact on my life was Carol Leaming. I attended a Christian school in Miami. When Carol had her son, she took the year off of teaching, but drove a school bus to help make ends meet. That was where me met. Later, she returned to the classroom. Her Civics class had gone to someone else, so I was privileged to have her as my senior English teacher. She taught me how to write effectively and to think critically. Then, I went off to school and soon returned to teach at my alma mater – English, of course. Carol was a great mentor to me as a beginning teacher. Her passion for the learning, her dedication to her students, and her love of the Lord and family all made a great impact on my life.

  36. 36
    Laura says:

    Dr. Leary….He had a vocabulary I still only know half of….But truly I learned more with him…he hated the word really…he would always say “as opposed to unreally?”

  37. 37
    Kelly says:

    Oh my. I’m weeping with you. Third grade..Mrs. Heidenreich. She smelled like flowers and warm cookies. She played the piano for us in the morning and had us sing songs to start the day. I can still hear the ping-ping of the radiators warming the room from the cold outside and hear Mrs. Heidenreich’s voice belting out songs to warm our hearts. She may have never known the safe place she created for kids like me who didn’t feel safe at home. I tried to look her up a few years ago but she had passed away. May she know now the gift she gave me.

  38. 38
    Amy Hughey says:

    A teacher’s approval is right up there with a parent’s. I had two different band directors at different times who made me feel like I could accomplish anything. They gave me confidence and made me dream big. I always wanted to do my best for them and didn’t want to disappoint. LOVED that they believed I go do “it,” whater “it” was. Funny…I started college as a music major who wanted to travel and perform. Now I am a teacher…hmmmm =)

  39. 39
    Kelli says:

    OOOH! this is hard! I think I have to jump ahead to college- one of my nursing professors- Mrs. Anne. She was truly awesome in every way- a little spitfire. She taught all sorts of subjects but I remember most her love for the Lord and how she applied it to nursing. She took me on my first medical missions trip to Mexico. Ironically, her labor and delivery (women’s health class) was the only class I got a B in in college (I was somewhat of a nerd…) and that is what I ended up specializing in.

    Now, 15 years later we live overseas and after being here for a few years, we found out that Miss Anne and her husband work for the same company in a neighboring country- small world! She still gives me nursing advice and how I can apply it to my ministry. She and her husband are now retired, but I just taught a healthcare seminar for M’slim women using materials that she sent me. I love how the Lord ties lives together like that!

  40. 40
    Shelley Christensen says:

    Okay, I know this is not exactly what you asked us for, but the first thing that popped into my head was the favorite teachers my oldest son had. School was always such a struggle to him and I wasn’t sure we were going to make it through 5th grade. His 5th grade teachers absolutely ripped him up one side and down the other–they were horrible. Anyway, as 6th grade was about to begin I felt myself sinking into this deep dark hole–I so didn’t want school to start because there was no way I could go through another year like that. I told the Lord that if school had to start, He was going to have to do this thing for me because I just couldn’t. Well, school did have to start. And with it came Mrs. Garrett and Mrs. Barnard. Oh my, two of the best women I will ever know. They gave my boy a completely fresh start. He was never a bad kid, he just didn’t fit the “model student” mold. I can’t quite come up with the words to describe what they did for my son, but I can promise you that school was never the same for him. He graduated this May and while he was still never the “model student”, he succeeded in school, participated much, and graduated very well. Mrs. Garrett and Mrs. Barnard will always hold a place of high honor within this family.

  41. 41
    Vicki Koons says:

    My favorite teach was in (believe or not!) first grade. Her name was Mrs. Betty Kerns. I thought she was old at the time, but when I met up with her again in high school, I realized she wasn’t even old yet then. She was a great teacher, going the extra mile for us little first graders to give us the confidence we would need for the rest of our school careers. She also (for some reason) taught us all how to knit in her class. So not only did she impact my educational life, but she instilled in me the love for needlecrafts that I have to this day, forty-eight years later!

  42. 42
    rhonda says:

    Algebra 1 Freshman year. I had been pretty much a straight A kid until then. (For reference, we had just moved from Emmet Schools to Prescott- which was about 4x bigger- you South Western Arkansas girls know;). Mrs. Loe. That class was kicking my tail and she was relentless. She made no compromises. She demanded respect. She kept pushing. She would not let me quit. Second semester it clicks and I had never been prouder.

  43. 43
    Kristen says:

    My favorite teacher was Mr. Lambert, my 11th grade Environmental Science teacher. He made learning fun! He took us outdoors into nature to teach us what the books couldn’t tell us. I looked forward to his class everyday because I knew, even as a 17 year old, that he loved what he did.

  44. 44
    Jasper says:

    Oh and my favorite teacher was Miss Spence. I came from a severe dysfunctional family and she knew it, but did not make a “scene”. She was quiet in her loving ways towards me, affirming me and telling me I can do anything, be anyone if I believed it. She had a warm way about her and I never wanted to leave class. I moved alot b/c of our dysfunctional family, but I have never forgotten her. I have since been a traveling minister of sorts. I have an abandoned love for Jesus. I am ready to put some roots down now. I wake up awestruck of the love, grace and compassion Jesus lavishes on us, every second. I am grateful for you, your transparency, your integrity and honesty. I have labored alongside many ministries and churches and have seen quite a bit that grieves me, but then again as I see my own pile of flesh in action I am not so quick to think I am not in the same boat. Anyways, blessings to you Beth, your family and your obvious love affair with our Lord.-Jasper

  45. 45
    Gayla says:

    Oh Mrs. Beth it’s true! My inspirational teacher was Karen Johnson, who was also my English teacher. She made me want to know not just English, but Jesus! And in a public school non the less! I’m from those same Ouachita hills as you, and now Karen is retired in Arkadelphia! She continues to be a role model of loving God and loving people!

  46. 46
    Jabber Jaws says:

    I am clapping my hands at this one! I loved my high school Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Simmons. I swear that everyone in that class thought she/he was the favorite and she made all of us believe that we would write an accomplished novel one day. I think of her every single time I write a letter, legal brief, email – ANYTHING! Plus, she read to us. I know that sounds crazy but it was magical even in the ambivalent teen years. She really saw into each student and her classroom was a safe haven. I wish I could go back. I saw her at a funeral 4 years ago and she knew my name. For me, that she knew me after more than 15 years was, well, a little like Jesus saying my name. I cried right then. And, to add to the moment, she leaned over and told her husband that I was one of her special students and she had kept track of me! I floated on air at that precious compliment. Then the very next Sunday, as only God could ordain, I was showing a video from a local adoption agency to my Sunday School girls and GUESS WHO showed up in the video!?! MRS. SIMMONS – she had lived at Gladney as a child – never adopted or anything and she wanted to talk about what that was like and how it guided her into teaching! She is an amazing woman. Now, I am crying at my keyboard – not the ugly cry like the night I saw the video but close. Okay, I’m going to pray for my children’s teachers now. I know they need it. And, I am going to find Mrs. Simmons and call her just so she knows that I remember. I soooo remember her.

  47. 47
    Darcie Lyon says:

    My favorite teacher was fourth grade named Mrs Battershell. She was wonderful. She read wonderful. She was the teacher I had when my parent’s divorced and I moved away. Saying this I guess I have had other wonderful teachers who I think about every so often. Mrs. Krantz who taught me the love of writing but never seemed to love my writing. Or Mrs. Kern who prepared me for college and when she passed away it just broke our hearts. MISS BETH THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT. ALL MY MUSIC TEACHERS WHO TAUGHT ME TO SING. BECAUSE WHEN I SING IN CHURCH PRAISING THE LORD IN WORSHIP I CARRY A TUNE OR NOT AND I CAN SAY THANK YOU MY MUSIC MAESTROS FOR GIVING ME THE LOVE OF WORSHIP WITH MUSIC.

  48. 48
    Lauren says:

    I remember having quiet time by myself for years wishing I could find a group of ladies to discuss what I was reading. One day a lady from our church called and asked if I would be interested in going to a Bible study that a small group of ladies had started. One of the girls had lived in Houston and had recently moved home to North Dakota. She brought back a study that she had been doing at the law firm where she worked. I rem coming in to the room where a small group of ladies sat around a cassette tape player with Carmen singing hymns. We sang a couple songs and they turned the VCR on the 14 inch TV and there was this lady about my age with big hair and a strong accent but totally speaking my language. I remember being so moved I wished I could crawl out of the room so no one could see. That was a lot of years ago. You Beth are my favorite teacher.

  49. 49
    flip flops says:

    I can’t remember having a great teacher. I was raised catholic and went to an all girls catholic school. I do remember my 5th grade teacher Sister Jeanne. During our religion class she said that when we pray to God tell Him like it is because He knows anyway already! That has stuck with me for life and I am thankful for Sister Jeanne who whet my appetite for knowing God and following Him.

    Thanks for sharing your story Beth.

  50. 50
    Linda says:

    Oh, I loved that you got to see her again! What fun. What a sweet and tender thing she did to give you a hug and cup your face in her hands.

    My favorite teacher had to have been Mr. Hansen, my high school German teacher. Of course, in German class, we were allowed to speak only in German, so I really knew him as Herr Hansen. What a kind, thoughtful man. He was not your typical kraut. He had such a winsome personality. I’m quite sure he never had an enemy. And, boy, did he love all things German. So much so, that we loved all things German. Still do. Even sauerkraut. Who else could cause a person to love sauerkraut, I ask you? He was over 6 feet tall and had a big tummy on him, like a teddy bear and was always in a good mood. He also commanded respect and was your biggest chearleader.

    The second year I had him as my teacher, the boy who sat in the desk in front of me, Dan, was driving a van in the mountains, with his family in tow and a bus hit them head on. Mom, Dad, a sister and brother all died. His youngest brother survived with a broken leg and Dan is a vegetable to this day. A huge tragedy. But, Herr Hansen helped us grieve well. He was a huge reason we all bonded together and became the stronger for it. I’ll never forget. Looking back, I bet he was a Christian. I’m not sure since I was not one myself, but he made a big impact on my life and so many others.

    • 50.1
      Joyce says:

      Wow, that is a powerful story and hard to believe something so tragic could happen to the whole family like that. Sounds like your teacher was very compassionate and kind.

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