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. 301
    Warm in Alaska says:

    Mrs. Pessel, 4th grade teacher, Airport Heights Elementary School in east Anchorage. She was the best – fair, fun, friendly, firm. She’d read to us for half an hour after lunch. That little oasis in the middle of the day, when we’d be swept away into the panoramas and dramas she’d read, was intoxicating and made the year such a delight.

    Love me a good story. Love me a good teacher. Love me a good blog post!

    Thanks, Mrs. Fanett. We’re all “fans” of you ’cause you helped our Beth learn and love English!

    Warm in Alaska.

    • 301.1
      Amber says:

      My favorite teacher was also in Anchorage. She was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Scroggins. She had long, beautiful straight hair, and I wanted to grow up to look just like her. I still loved school then, and was devastated the day I got my name written on the board. I remember wanting to cry and plea my innocence, but I just kept my mouth shut, and promised myself to keep quiet forevermore. She was so nice and wonderful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 302
    Alyssa says:

    Mrs. Trostel was positively divine. She was my 3rd-6th grade Montessori teacher and was the true embodiment of absolute grace.

    She had a way of making everyone feel special, and encouraged everyone to find their own unique gifts. She’s the reason I’m working on becoming a Montessori teacher myself.

    May all children come across a teacher with the wisdom and mercy as Mrs. Trostel.

  3. 303
    Kathy Edson says:

    My favorite teacher was my Business Teacher, Mrs. Halter. I had her from Jr. High through High School and she was THE BEST!!! We had Christmas parties and bought her presents, as all the “girls” loved her. She made Shorthand, Typing and Accounting REALLY fun. I LOVED Mrs. Halter and she really made my HS come to life. Thanks, Mrs. Halter – what a great teacher you were and also a lot of fun.

  4. 304
    Liz says:

    My high school chemistry teacher was my favorite. I was a senior. Despised the subject and totally didn’t get it. But I loved him so.

    How could I not? He dressed up as “Captain Molecule” with molecular helixes fixed atop his head, made up of styrofoam balls and toothpicks. Climbed up on his lab table and jumped off, I guess hoping that his Captain Molecule cape would help him fly. In front of a bunch of “cool” seniors. Alas, gravity prevailed and he always landed on the ground, stunned that it didn’t work. Actually, we were stunned too.

    He conducted what he called his “UCLA experiment” by mixing together compounds in a glass beaker until it turned blue … and then gold … and back to blue … and then back to gold. Still don’t know how the heck he did it, because like I said, I didn’t “get” chemistry.

    Once I was so confused by a question on his exam that I totally made up an answer that I knew wasn’t correct … and next to it, with great hope, I wrote, “How ’bout some extra credit for my creativity?” Bless his heart, when I got the test back he wrote “Extra credit, 1 point” by my ridiculous answer. That’s grace, friends.

    I was not meant to be a chemist, but I enjoyed his class because he was a sweet man who I believe remembered what it was like to be 17. He was kind, funny and a joy to be around. Even though it was chemistry, I liked being in his classroom and seeing him every day.

    And I got a B. Which was a miracle.

  5. 305

    You might not post my comment but I just needed to write this and thank you for sharing your story I loved it. After I reading this post I kept thinking who my favorite teacher had been. I did not really want to comment on the post because I did not have a favorite teacher in all my years in school and I do not want this to be a pity party, but I never really excelled in school due to some childhood issues not being in one class long enough to learn or in one state long anyway that said. But I did in 2006 go back to school to study to get my GED AND FINALLY RECIEVED THAT IN JUNE OF 08 AT 53YRS OLD PRAISE GOD. I do have one person in my life that has been a great teacher and her name is none other than Ms. Beth Moore love her to pieces and she has taught me to stay in God word and to memorize scripture and have done alot of her bible studies and have learned alot . Just want to thank you Ms.Beth for loving us enough to keep on keeping on with this seista I have thanked God over and over for you and you have been a blessing in this seista’s life thank you for all you do ,love you lady and thank you for keeping this seista life out of the pit and pointing me to Jesus.
    Love Carol

  6. 306
    sepik-meri katie says:

    oh mama beth, i love this. the second i saw your tweet, my favorite teacher popped into mind and i HOPED you’d do a post about it ๐Ÿ™‚ mine was mrs. bahm. i had her 7th and 8th, for 2-3 class periods a day. i loved her! she had a banner up in the room that said “the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best”. she played instrumental hymns during times we had to work at our desk. she fought for me to pass middle school math, and she wasn’t my math teacher. but during the period i was her T.A. we did my math homework together, and she informed my mean-streaked math teacher that i was earning an A ๐Ÿ™‚ this woman inspired me with her kindness and as you say, i just knew she was for me. she liked me, and i worked hard in her class because i wanted to make her proud! we have kept in touch, she has supported my ministry, and she receives my newsletters to this day! praise the Lord for those extra special teachers that make a difference in our young lives!!!

  7. 307
    Melissa says:

    I never really comment on these “bloggie thingies” but just had to this time. My very favorite teacher was Mrs.Clementina Marmolejo. Don’t you just love that name? Classy! She taught freshman english and I was glued to her every word. Forty years later (as I think about it) I have a feeling she knew about this poor little darlings life and was committed to encourage me. I’m so thankful! Anyway, I wanted to share a poem that she wrote in my 1969/70 yearbook the spring before I moved to another part of Texas.
    “Your name is, Melissa,
    A song in some ways
    But when one’s eyes feast on you
    A symphony plays.
    You’re a creature of Beauty
    God’s symbol of Art
    But of all that’s Melissa
    Is her beautiful heart.”
    The last two lines still touch me very deep. God was so good thru this precious teacher……

  8. 308
    Tamara says:

    Hmm, this took me on a trip down memory lane. I had so many good teachers over the years.

    Probably my favourite of all teachers was Mrs. Zonnis, my teacher for grades 6 & 7. She made learning every subject fun. I don’t remember a day when class was not enjoyable. And she was one of those teachers who you knew cared about you as a person, not just another student in her class.

    I especially appreciated her encouragement to get more involved in class discussions and the like. I needed that, as I had spent most of my school life up to that point struggling to get over a speech impediment I had been born with and had become very self-consious about my speech, to the point where I rarely, if ever, said anything in class, because I had come to the conclusion that I was stupid ebcause I couldn’t speak like everyone else. She definitely encouraged me to get involved and make my contributions to the discussion as she valued them and made it very clear that there was a lot of intelligence behind what I had to say. I needed that right then, as it helped me to get past that fear, that was no longer based on anything (you could no longer hear the speech impediment when I spoke, but I still had to move past the fear of speaking that came from it). I’m definitely glad I had a teacher that encouraged me in that and helped me to get past that before I got to high school and college, where public speaking was required as part of some of my classes.

    I actually just ended up getting to let her know, earlier today, how much I appreciated her as a teacher. When I checked my Facebook this morning, there was a message from her – she had found me through one of my classmates and friends from then. I was a little surprised that she still remembered me (especially since I went by a nickname when I was in her class, rather than my given name which is what’s on my Facebook). Isn’t it cool how God works sometimes? Providing those opportunities to say thank you to people from the past who may have had no idea how much of an impact they made on your life at the time.

  9. 309
    Pam says:

    Blast from the past! It has been so fun to read these posts and the impact of teachers. My favorite teacher was my high school band director, Mr. Roger Lewin. I was the “baton twirler” in front of the band at the high school football games and in the town parade. He was so encouraging, even when I dropped the baton. He even let me twirl fire batons at one game during the season! He was an amazing man. He and his family were in a car accident my senior year and he was killed, while his family survived. He was a Christian and that made an incredible impact on me. I was able to write a poem following his death and give it to his wife. I have seen his wife when I’ve been back in my home town and she is still the most gracious woman. She always appreciated the poem from a 17 year old girl who appreciated her husband, especially as a godly man who saw value in me. (oh, Beth, here come the tears)….Love, Pam in San Diego

  10. 310
    Dionna says:

    One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Spani. He taught my health class in high school and had also taught my sister before me. He endeared himself to me in the beginning by resembling my grandpa who had passed away when I was in 5th grade. He was balding, and had an ornery sparkle in his eyes. And he liked me. ๐Ÿ™‚ He even had a graduation gift tucked away in the side of the classroom for me at the end of my senior year.
    We still exchange Christmas cards. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. 311
    His Jules says:

    I have several favorite teachers… my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Lenora Jones was the one who inspired me to teach, I don’t even remember that much about what she taught just that she made me feel like I mattered a whole lot and to a fourth grade girl who didn’t feel like she fit in that was HUGE!!! She made me want to be that somebody for someone else….Then when I got into high school I had a teacher who everyone was scared of – you know the type, tough, stern but boy could she teach history! Mrs. Johnny Smith made me love history and she showed me what it meant to give of ones self. She was truly a giant in the giving area. There have been many other teachers I have admired and loved but these are the two who I feel left a “mark” on my educational years. If we get to name a favorite teacher on a grander scale – it would be the Holy Spirit. I love the way He reveals the word to me and how things that I have read over and over can become new and fresh through the Spirit’s revelation!

  12. 312
    Ann says:

    Hi Beth,
    That was such a neat story about meeting your teacher. Mine was in 4th. grade, my parents had divorced and I was living with my grandparents. That was the 3rd. year after the divorce. I had lived with other relatives also after the divorce and my Mom leaving town. Cleo made me feel special and knew about my parents divorce so I think I got some extra attention…and prayers I found out later. My parents divorced 58 years ago so divorce was not as common then. She was a young, fun teacher and I loved school that year. We have since met again and now keep in touch. She is a special woman and a woman of God. She will always have a special place in my heart.
    God was watching over me.

  13. 313
    Ann says:

    Oops I forgot to put my favorite teachers name..it is Cleo Terras.

  14. 314
    PJ says:

    I love this question! I had 2 favorite English teachers – the first was my Senior English high school teacher, Mr. Ferrara. He was animated and helped bring every story and novel I read to life. He encouraged me with my writing and gave me a definite love of words.

    The second was Professor Gaerte. He was my college English (and almost every other course related to my Communication major) Professor and gave me such a love for writing and communicating. He truly believed in me and my “gift.” I didn’t have a Dad around growing up, and Prof. Gaerte gave me the encouragement I needed as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. His Christian influence gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself and what I was capable of.

    I wonder where they are now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. 315
    Kathy says:

    Thank you, Mrs. Fanett for recognizing and encouraging our Beth’s natural abilities and highest potentiality. She has blessed this world! So glad Mrs. Fanett was part of your life and you had this wonderful experience.

    My favorite “teacher” was my “drill team” sponsor- She made me feel talented and appreciated. She invested her time and interest in us and our special dance projects. She and her family had been captured in Japan during the war. She had been tortured as a child by the Japanese in one of the prison camps. She and her mother were released but her father was held. When he was released, he was so thin and malnourished, that their hugs broke his ribs. You would never know that my teacher had had this cruel background. Her zest for life and her love for her husband and children were contagious.

    She gave me the opportunity to develop leadership and organizational skills while enjoying dance. I believe she inspired me to use those skills in my academic endeavors. I pursued my college work beyond a master’s level.

    You are right, a role model and an encourager can change and direct a young woman’s life while living in a troubled world and possibly a troubled family.

    Thank you for sharing this special experience with us. Beth, you are a Mrs. Fanett to thousands. Your post reminds me of your teaching in Oak Cliff. “One life can invite the favor of God to many in the storm. One life can invite the change.”

  16. 316
    MK says:

    What a blessing to read of that God-stop in your life. I am so thankful that God put her in your path and we are still reaping the benefits of it today! :~)

    Teacher stories do reach down and touch that sensitive place in us for good or bad. There were so many memorable teachers – but the one I am most thankful for is Mr. Bolander. A true God-spot if ever I had one. He brings a smile to my face now. I can’t say that I have a lot of memories of his science class or can I say he gave me a love of science. But I remember distinctly that day he asked me “Why are you in this class?”

    I had been put back a grade (something meant for evil) and because of that, had been placed in the bottom tier of classes. But Mr. Bolander saw past all that and arranged for me to be placed in the accelerated tier. It changed my life. (God meant for good) I went from stupid to smart. Well, at least the label placed on me did. I was still the same. But the opportunities that were open to me because of that for the rest of my school career was miraculous. I went from potential drop-out to college bound. I don’t remember anyone believing in me before and I was not about to let him down and made the most of it.

    Years later, after becoming a Christian, I realized that Mr. Bolander was a Christian. How I thank God for his risky recommendation to move me. Just retelling this brings a new thankfulness!

    thanks for letting us share!

  17. 317
    Carrie Beth says:

    OH BETH!
    I had the privilege of sitting under the tutelage of COUNTLESS good teachers. One of them that was especially inspiring was my Chemistry and Physics (Jr & Sr. year) teacher, Mrs.Ritchie Edwards. She demanded a great deal, but you knew that she gave 110%. She did creative and thought-provoking labs. She taught hard and expected our best.
    More than that, she ministered to me during a particularly difficult time in my life. My Senior year of High School, my parents abruptly separated and divorced. We lived in a VERY small town, so you can imagine how that went down. Everyone was taking sides and talking about every detail. My sisters and I were wary of trusting anyone. But on the day we had to go to court, Mrs. Ritchie (that was her name then) took me out in the hallway and talked to me, encouraged me and offered herself to my family.
    A couple of years ago near Thanksgiving, my pastor challenged our congregation to list as many people as we could (right then) who had blessed us. Well I have had my socks blessed off over and over again! My list was very long and included Sunday School teachers, GA leaders, school teachers, college professors, friends of the family, mentors and countless others. My pastor then said it was not enough to list them – he challenged us to contact those people and let them know what they had meant to us. I knew it was going to take me a while, but I wrote a note to every single one. I had to track down some addresses/emails, but after three months, I had finished.
    TWO YEARS LATER I received a response from Mrs. Ritchie. She told me of some struggles she had had physically and how she received my letter in the middle of what proved to be her most challenging year as a teacher. She felt her ways of doing things were being treated as antiquated and maybe she wasn’t the teacher she thought she was. She was considering retiring a year early because of the negativity. She said my note came and boosted her spirits and helped her summon the desire to teach another year. She included the Sunday School lesson she was teaching the next week.
    I had meant to thank and bless her, but of course, God blessed me in return. I had no idea of the situation she was going through and had not spoken to her in years.
    I am so glad I followed through with my pastor’s challenge. So often I mean to do things like that and “life” gets in the way.

  18. 318
    Maggie Beth says:

    Yes, I had a favorite English teacher and no matter how old I get she will always be “Mrs. Goodward”.

    I also had a Bus. Education teacher, anybody remember those? She took a particular “liking” to me ~ in her own way (SMILE). She was ‘lovingly tough’ on me! (SMILE)

    At my 10 yr high school she actually showed up. Right before she left, she pulled me to the side and said, “You are the real reason I came tonight. I knew you COULD make it ~ just wanted to be sure you DID! I am extremely proud of you!”

    (Some ten years later ~ that one STILL brings tears to my eyes!)

    God Bless all the Good & REALLY! Good Teachers out there!!

  19. 319

    Mrs. Myers………………….Oh how I could relate. Also an English teacher, also gave me great approval and made me feel super smart, a feeling that seemed rare and I also have a love for writing to this day that I think came from that sweet lady! What a treat God gave us gals who may have been walking through hell at home, a precious teacher to help us escape the pain! Loved your recount!


  20. 320
    Melissa says:

    My favorite teacher was my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Noe (who died of breast cancer a few years ago but not before I got the opportunity to tell her she was my favorite teacher) She really made me like someone special, like someone that really matters. She was so graceful and ladylike and I wanted to be just like her. I remember she had me help her a couple of times “clean” her house. Mostly we talked and laughed, and she made me lunch. I did not have a very pleasant childhood and this was a bright spot that year. I will always remember how she made me feel not so much as what she taught me.

  21. 321
    Sandy says:

    Dear Beth, Thank you for sharing this story with us today, and allowing us to join in.
    I am a certified, experienced teacher, since 1985, with 15 years experience, because I stayed home at different times with my children, who is interviewing tomorrow to be an ASSISTANT to a first year pre-k teacher. These stories are all great encouragement to me. I don’t know if the pre-k students will remember their teacher or the teacher’s assistant, but I know that both will be important to the children each day of their pre-k year and to the parents who leave their babies at the school.

    My high school English teacher was very special to me, too, but my very favorite teacher was Mrs. Martha Ayres in 4th grade. What I remember the most is that she cared enough about us to take time out to talk to us girls in the hall, when we were having drama in the circle of friends. Now, as a special ed. teacher, I strived to do that with my students, but I also always felt the pressure of the schedule. Mrs. Ayres is a very special lady!

  22. 322
    Lisa H says:

    This brought back memories! Yes I have a favorite teacher. I have two actually, but the one that came to mind was Mrs. Russel! I cannot remember her first name but I remember her well. She was my kindergarten teacher 35 years ago!!! Wow! I went to half day kindergarten, in the morning but there were many many days that I begged my mom to let me pack my lunch in my Holly Hobby lunch box that had a long strap on it to carry it like a purse….oh the memories are coming now, things I hadnt thought about in many many years! Anyway, I would stay and eat lunch with Mrs. Russel in the classroom and then I would stay for the second half of the day. I would stay for the entire class time and then go home! I loved helping teach the afternoon students the alphabet. Mrs. Russel even took me to her farm over spring break-we lived in the city. I remember going to her farm and helping an older gentleman feed the roosters and chickens, the hog and then watch the baby piglets nurse from their mama and was amazed! I remember the dog following me around and going out on a row boat in their pond. She was also the first person to make me eat LIMA beans! I hate them to this day! Ha!

    Thank you so much for helping me to go down memory lane. It is something I have been struggling with for some time now–memories of my childhood, good ones anyway, have been sparse!


    • 322.1
      Kathy B says:

      Holly Hobby lunch box. How darling. I’ve seen my share of those. Ever get confused when you go in Hobby Lobby?

  23. 323
    Beth says:

    This is such an amazing God thing I have to share! I have only commented on this blog once and that was when I was going to see you in St. Louis! This morning I just had to share about my fifth grade teacher. I haven’t seen her since my high school graduation (I am now 30… its been awhile.)

    You are not going to believe what happened today!! I felt like I had to write about my favorite teacher since you asked. Then someone said, that we should send them a note. I tried to look her up to do just that, but don’t know her husband’s name so I was kind of hitting a dead end. Then today… my mother in law came by and said, “You will never guess who I ran into today at the candy store!” (We do not live in a small town… there are lots of candy stores!) I said, “I have no idea.” She said, “Mrs. Judy Lewis, your fifth grade teacher!” I got chills! I was trying to look her up and couldn’t find her and the my mother in law bumps into her today! You have got to be kidding!
    I should explain that my mother in law was my school nurse (long before she was my mother in law) and she hadn’t seen this teacher in 10 years at least.
    Well thank you, God. I will call the store tomorrow and find out when she works. I am taking my kids to meet her!

  24. 324
    Kelly says:

    I can’t pick just one! Mrs. Stone (1st grade) made us fold our hands on our desks- which I now teach my students- to be good listeners. Mrs. Dean, who I thought was older than dirt, taught us the Johnny Appleseed song prayer. Mrs. Williams (4th grade) did innovative “centers”- today, no classroom would be without them. God bless every one of our middle school teachers. (And Lord-deliver me! I think I’ll stick with elementary.) Mr. Grove taught South Georgia kids to speak French in high school. Mrs. Reddish was a genuine, caring, inspiring English teacher. Oh, and Mrs. Shaw- our white-haired, soft-spoken Physics teacher who took us out in the parking lot and drove around blowing the horn so we could experience the Doppler effect!! Mr. Freeman, our band teacher. Mr. Woodard, math. Many more…

    I’m sure the influence of these great teachers is no small reason why many of my classmates became teachers! I’m so thankful for the happy memories!


  25. 325
    Jeanine says:

    Oh my goodness this brings back memories! My favorite teacher was my freshman English teacher, Mrs. Black. All summer, before school started, I had been told “you do NOT want Mrs. Black” so when I looked at my class list and saw her name there I burst into frightened tears. But my mom was so wise and reminded me not to assume anything because the kids could be wrong, and they were. I LOVED her. Not in a hug-her-upon-entering the classroom kind of way, but in a “this woman knows her English and can teach it like nobody’s business” kind of way. She had a bad, black-dyed updo, wore what we not-so-kindly referred to as “viking sandals” (I mean they were UGLY) but she made English, grammar, spelling, and Shakespeare utterly fascinating. To this day, English is still my favorite subject!

  26. 326
    Tricia says:

    I have four teachers that impacted my life and helped me to want to be a teacher. Mr. Hoy(5th/6th grade) Mr. Speers (Algebra) Dr. Fishman(Sr. Research Paper incredible teacher!!!) and Dr. Zekes (Fresh. Biology in College) As a teacher myself…it would mean the world to me to have a former student to deem me the “best teacher ever” and truly mean it.

  27. 327
    Anne says:

    Love this post, Beth. Your English teacher is the type of teacher I would love to be for my students.

    There were two English teachers who gave me a great deal of confidence I otherwise would never have had. Mrs. Greer, my HS English teacher, was convinced that everything I wrote was literature and constantly put my work in the school newspaper. Dr. Magness, one of my college English teachers, is the reason I chose English as a major. My goal as a teacher has always been to show the same kindness to my students that my teachers showed to me and to embody the same professional excellence.

  28. 328
    Michelle says:

    Most of the teachers I had my Senior year were my favorites. Mrs. McGuffey taught Senior English and made it so much fun and very interesting. Ms. Milligan taught US Government. I remember quite a bit about that class because she made it come alive. Mr. Winkelmann taught my German class. He also taught American History (which I was never lucky enough to have have for this subject). He was so much fun and could be extremely cheesy which made his class even more interesting. All have stopped teaching in the classroom but are still teaching me every day.

  29. 329
    Laura A. says:

    I can relate to having a great teacher.

    My teacher, Madame Pamela Klein was the best teacher ever. She was my French teacher for 3 years in Inglewood High School. She loved everything french and she made that love contagious. She was the only one in my life at the time that paid attention. She called me on my junk.

    Every year she invited all her classes to her home for a degustation. She had us cook french food and we’d bring it to her house, where she gave us the run of the house. This was particularly shocking to us since we were inner-city kids, and she lived in a very nice area close to Hollywood.

    She was so giving of herself, me and another friend couldn’t let go. We wrote to her for years and visited her and her husband several times over the years.

    She passed away last year ๐Ÿ™ I miss her dearly. She sent me a postmortem letter via her sister. She told me that she really loved me, that it wasn’t an act. Also, that she thought I was doing a great job raising my sons on my own. Ok, now I’m tearing up.

    I dreamt with her last night, but I can’t remember the details. Suffice it to say that she will always be a part of me. And my kids loved her too!

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    Amy says:

    My favorite teacher was my 1st (and 2nd!) grade teacher, Mrs. Compton. She was the reason I became a teacher. She made me feel like I was so special to her and loved us kids so much. She always corrected our papers with big permanent markers in black and red, and I knew I would want to use those someday when I corrected papers. She nicknamed me “crazy socks” because I always wore crazy socks, I guess! So she would always draw a picture of socks on my paper. Who would take the time to do that?! She also always let me have extra worksheets so I could play teacher at home. :>)

  31. 331
    Noel says:

    AWWW!!! LOVE this post, Siesta Mama! Couldn’t be because I am a teacher? I have 2 favorites:
    1)Mrs. MacMillan, 3rd grade, she was so good and all I can ever remember is the fun stuff, we put on a play, a huge PRODUCTION, when I think about all the time we spent on it I can’t believe it! As a teacher today there is NO WAY you would ever catch a 3rd grade teacher spending, I am sure a month, on a play! Hello we have standardized tests that every child needs to ‘benchmark’ on or else! I remember she would read “The Littles” after lunch. I also remember that we did this art project @ Thanksgiving of a Native American with a feather headdress and on each feather you were supposed to glue different beans on. I remember painstakingly gluing each kidney bean with precision on the middle feather and then the two on either side with white beans. Even as the others finished she let me embrace my ‘ocd’ tendencies and clue each bean in its perfect place!
    2)Pam Sharpe, this was a teacher in college. She was a Bilingual/Multi-Cultural teacher that taught all sorts of classes; as many of us getting our teaching degrees were also getting our ESL Endorsement. She taught Linguistics the only class on my degree tract that scared me. She was amazing she broke it all down and I was able to digest, recall, apply all she taught. I always remember the ‘feeling’ she gave me…like I was the only student in the class, that she was teaching only for me! amazing!
    Love to you all!

  32. 332
    Ashley says:

    This is only the second time I have posted so I figure I should introduce myself!

    My name is Ashley Mozley and I am a 27 year old seminary student! You can imagine the many teachers that have impacted me in a setting such as that ๐Ÿ™‚ Seminary brought me to Louisville, Kentucky from Green River, Wyoming and what a joy it has been.

    Our Lord has been rich in mercy and grace in the past 5 years that I have lived here. Seminary has reduced me to brokenness, stretched me more than I ever thought possible, and has revealed to me my greatest passion… ALL of that with the sweetest reward; a heart that yearns to know my Lord more intimately every day!

    Now that the introduction is out of the way ๐Ÿ™‚

    My AP English teacher my senior year of high school had the greatest impact on me. Sure, her love for GREAT books was a drawing point, but it was her passion for something else that led me to love her deeply; her students. Believe it or not, she taught me to love people and to love them with abandon. There were countless students that walked through her doors on any given day, and she gave each one the same attention as the next. She cared more than any teacher I have encountered up to that point and since. I spent countless hours reading and writing for that class, but enjoyed every second because she made me yearn to do better. I count it all joy that I had the pleasure of “sitting at her feet” that year. I have just heard of her retirement and I know that the community celebrates her legacy in the classroom. I join them from afar! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you Beth for extending that same love to the “students” who sit at your feet every day!

  33. 333
    Jan says:

    I’ve been blessed because I have had many wonderful teachers! The two that come to mind most often are my third and fourth grade teachers, Mrs. Slifer and Mrs. Schulein. I remember cursive writing and multiplication tables in third grade. I receive compliments on my handwriting all the time and I just smile and think of Mrs. Slifer. Mrs. Schulein read to us a lot. I have enjoyed reading some of those same books with my children now. Both had kind eyes and warm smiles. God bless them wherever they are!

  34. 334
    shannon says:

    I have one of my english teachers as a facebook “friend” and I still see some of my old teacher when I go home to visit and still call them “Mr or Mrs…..” which they always say “you don’t have to call me that anymore” but I do because that would just be weird ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. 335
    Patti K says:

    5th grade. Mrs Linda Resnick. It was the early 70’s and she had a love affair going with folk music. She played the guitar and taught us Peter, Paul and Mary songs. She sent up an aquarium in our room and brought in an overstuffed couch and made a “reading corner”. For science she bought in a bunch of chicken eggs and an incubator.Despite our best efforts… the eggs never hatched and she cried when she told us that they never would. She was the greatest!

  36. 336
    Paige from Alabama says:

    Oh, Beth. You rocked my socks off with this one. My world changed at age 32 when I became a teacher. You talk about destiny….teaching is mine. Standing up in front of a classroom of students – it’s so wonderful, I get chills thinking about it. The kids know who genuinely wants to be with them. Makes all the difference in the world. Turning 12 year olds into readers and writers…..love me some of that.

  37. 337
    MaryDinPhxAZ says:

    My most influencial teacher was my band director for 3 years in high school, Mr. Bullock. He worked us like a boot camp instuctor to get us to have staight lines during marching season. Our band did military marching. Then for concert season we played incredibly difficult pieces that we thought we could never play. We all loved him for how he stretched us. We also learned respect, teamwork and discipline. Now, every other year, our band meets in the summer and practices for a day and then gives a concert (which begins with the Star Spangled Banner). Anyone who has every been in the band is welcome to come play and usually Mr. Bullock directs us. As we go around the band and introduce ourselves, it is interesting how many ex-students are now teaching music in some capacity. Thank you, Mr. Bullock!

  38. 338
    Jera says:

    Mrs. Hall, didn’t everyone have one? She was a legend in that she was soo hard (she made us read literature we couldn’t comprehend, AND write papers about it!), and she was perceived as hating all students (I mean it’s one thing to make us recite Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in front of the whole class, but who makes their students act it out with emotion?), and she was unreasonable (we are doing what? Did she say Shakespeare?). One day during my junior year I went into her classroom to turn in a paper and she was talking to a group of people, she said “This is Jera, she will be very successful one day.” I’ll never forget how I felt hearing that from her! Changed my life and I worked ten times harder in her class to not let her down. And I still remember “The Raven” by heart, and NO I don’t recite it with emotion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. 339
    Loyce Alvarado says:

    I loved that! Thanks for sharing it. How wonderful that you got to see Mrs. Fanett again.

    My favorite teacher from elementary was Mrs. Gibson. I had her twice: as my “home room” teacher in 2nd grade and then again for English & Math in 4th grade. I don’t remember which of those years it was, but she had all of the girls in her class over to her house for a sleepover! – can you imagine? She sang and played the piano for us, told stories while we ate popcorn, but the most memorable event of the evening was when we in our pj’s and she in her nightgown TOOK OFF HER WIG!! She had beautiful long gray hair under there (we had never even suspected). She let us take turns brushing it down her back. (Okay whatever made you cry in your story, just hit me – oh my goodness! What is that anyway?)

    She was such a precious lady. I don’t know if she’s still living (here on earth anyway) but I would love to bump into her. She loved Jesus and wasn’t afraid to tell us so. She took the boys of the class another weekend, letting them spend a Saturday with her husband who we heard later had boots, a cowboy hat and a real live horse!

    Thanks for a special memory that I hadn’t thought of in a ton of years. Wow, I guess that was about 40 years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. 340
    sue says:

    Wow, how crazy is it that MY favorite teacher, Mr. Heywood taught me Jr. and Sr. Lit, and that I then went on to major in English despite the fact that I was never a top student, just because I loved it?!? btw…This is my first ever comment on LPM blog. haha..thats how much I loved my teacher and this blog post! =)

  41. 341
    Sharliss Arnold says:

    Ok, so I do read this blog everyday and am so thankful when there is an update. I don’t “talk” much in the comments because God had told me I need to write Beth and tell her all about me but life is just crazy right about now and just so you know, to many, it seems, well normal. But for me I have been on a long journey taking care of my sweet jewel of a daughter as she crawled through 813 days of treatment for leukemia. The valley was so dark but now we are on the other side of that big ole mountain and we are doing life like crazy!

    But you wanted to know about teachers in our life, perhaps just the one that made the difference. I too walked in dark valleys, my sweet momma went to heaven when I was just 9 and I spent 5 lonely weeks in the hospital where they told my daddy I would never walk again and would never have a baby, well a praise Jesus goes right there because they were wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I life went black and white when my momma left. There are many chapters and I hope I have the honor of telling them all to Beth one day but tonight it is about teachers. They were the ones who carried about this little lady whey life sucked. I am a pleasure and I wanted to do well just so they would like me. What they did not know was I watched their every move and wanted to achieve so badly. I have so many but the one that truly help write important chapters in my life was Claire Sullivan. She was a teacher at the Vocational school I attended. My daddy and step mother decided to leave the town we were living in and wanted to know if I was “moving” with them so they would know to get either a 2 or 3 bedroom mobile home. Life at home was horrible and I made the decision to leave home at 17. Claire had been such a leader in my life and I shared with her all the time. I told her about my decision and the next day while standing in her office she put a single key on the desk. It was a house key. She told me to “rent” a room from her and I lived with her for almost a year and there learned how to save money, keep house, work two jobs and take classes. Today, I know so much a goals and accomplishments because she took the time to show a young scared girl how life works.

    Well, I think this is about enough for this chapter anyway.

    PS. Just got my green wrist band for the Deep Still Conference in Birmingham, AL in December. I am taking two ladies that are apart of the small group I teach here in Tennessee. They will be blown away and I will be blessed watching them learn at your feet.

    I appreciate you guys so much!

    Never Quit!

    Sharliss Arnold

  42. 342
    Melissa says:

    Oh how I loved reading this! I am a 7th and 8th grade English teacher and it is all because of the inspiration of a woman whose teaching rocked me to my core! I saw her at a conference last spring, and although it took me some time to build my courage, I talked to her and told her what a profound impact she had on my life. Although I seriously doubt that I am inspiring the future English teachers of tomorrow, I pray that I am seeking God’s will through my life to create an environment where students are free to just be inspired.

  43. 343
    MaryLisa says:

    My favorite teacher was Mr. Lee Paulson. I have one million stories why I love him, (he was also my favorite Sunday School teacher) but one of my favorite stories is never as funny in the telling as it was in real life.

    He came in to class which was right after lunch and really loud. He stood at his desk and yelled, “Hey, you guys! Shut up!” Most of sat in stunned silence a teacher would say “shut up” but a few kids were still muttering to each other and he said, “Students, you really should be quiet and listen when I am speaking to you in your vernacular.”

  44. 344
    Margie by the Sea says:

    Dear Beth
    Having been a teacher all of my life, I can so identify with this story – from both sides.
    If you felt wonderful seeing her, she felt it even more so. There is no greater reward as a teacher than to have a former student let you know the difference you made in their life.
    I spent time tracking down my 4th grade teacher, Sister Marie Mathias, a few years ago and wrote her a letter telling her how important she was to me at the age of 8, the year my father died. She wrote me back! And, she remembered me. What a great feeling of being loved.
    Beth, Mrs. Fanett did a great job in giving you a love for the written and spoken work “fitly spoken and fitly written.”
    And one other thing she taught you that we see when you teach us… Beth Moore, you use your hands a lot and your eyes dance as you teach.
    Next time you see Mrs. Fanett, will you thank her for us?
    Love you

  45. 345
    Lisa says:

    Mrs. Fanett was my favorite teacher, too! She was my Junior English teacher and Senior English Quest teacher at Klein Forest High School about two hundred years ago.

    Sure, Naomi Fanett taught me to appreciate a good book, to write a great research paper and to diagram hairy sentences, but it was all the other things she taught that stuck with me. Things that had little or nothing to do with English. She began the year by teaching us to spell her name. “One N and two T’s,” she would repeat. I am certain I will NEVER forget how to spell Fanett! She was always encouraging and she taught us to encourage each other as well. She had us write “compliments” at the end of the year – a short message to each classmate telling them what we appreciated about them. (I still have mine in a box in my closet!) She put stickers on our A papers and let us color with crayons the day after research papers were turned in. Some of the kids thought that was silly, but I see now, with twenty some odd years of perspective, that by removing our too-cool-for-high-school facades she helped us get down to who we really were on the inside which made us better writers and better people. She also taught responsibility with a measure of grace unlike any other teacher I have ever met. If we were unprepared for a test, or forgot an assignment, we had the option of writing a “Dear Mrs. Fanett” letter for a (much reduced) replacement grade. She required that it inform and entertain. I can still picture her chuckling to herself as she read a carefully crafted “Dear Mrs. Fanett” letter at her desk. What a great blog some of those letters would make!

    By far though, my favorite memory of her came when I was caught in the middle of a tough situation my senior year and I was called out of her class to speak with an assistant principal. When I returned to her classroom to pick up my books, I found that Mrs. Fanett had left a sticky note for me in the front of my new Bible which I had brought to school to show her that day. Among other verses, she recommended reading Romans 8:28. To this day, every time I read Romans 8, I think of her handwritten note and I recall the invaluable support of a teacher I loved and respected.

    Thanks for the memories! I’m so glad to hear that she is well and traveling with her sweetheart.

    I’m off to look through those compliments again!

  46. 346
    Jennifer says:

    My favorite teacher was my high school English/Lit/Speech teacher. She was tough, but she cared about you understanding the material. When I took speech from her, I was petrified of getting in front of my peers. I had anxiety attacks every time. That dear lady worked with me and made the entire class turn their desks around for my speeches until I could actually breath and give my speech at the same time!
    I’m 39 and today I teach a Senior Adult Ladies Sunday School class. I wonder if Ms Shackelford (my teacher) would be just tickled to know I’m doing that?

  47. 347
    Honey Bee says:

    Okay, first, I can totally see you just cracking yourself up at the beginning of this post. Seriously, Beth, the celery and lettuce cracks were hilarious…because I love you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a few teachers who made significant impact on me, but by far my favorite (I’ve even written essays about how much she meant to me) was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Michelle Jager. (She started out as Miss Alferink, and got married while we were in her class.)

    We had singing time frequently (I went to a Christian elementary school) and she often picked students to sing solos on different verses of the hymns and songs we sung. I have always loved to sing, but I was too shy at that point to really assert myself and ask for solos, so I just quietly raised my hand with everyone else. It was literally MONTHS before she picked me. But when she did, I’ll never forget (still getting teary eyed!) that she turned around from playing the piano to tell me what a beautiful voice I had. *sigh* That one moment of affirmation meant so much to me. She was, in effect, everything I wanted to be…beautiful, loving, gentle, fun-loving, and most of all, God-loving.

    Mrs. Jager, if by chance you read this, that one tiny moment meant the world to me. I’ve never forgotten it, nor have I forgotten you. Thanks.

    (P.S. I formerly blogged as Melissa Sue)

  48. 348
    BigD says:

    Wow, Beth! I’m so glad you had the opportunity to see your teacher again!
    I had a fabulous composition teacher in high school, Mrs. Morrill. She challenged me like no other! Like you, she was my inspiration to go into journalism.
    When I finally landed my first cover story for a national publication, I had this gut feeling that I need to send a copy to Mrs. M. and thank her for what she did for me. But, as you know it does, life happens… I got busy… I couldn’t get to the Post Office… weeks went by… I still had that nagging gut.
    Then, I got word that Mrs. M. had died of an illness. (She wasn’t any older than my own mother!)
    Anyway, I always regretted not taking action sooner, and I resolved then and there not to delay the thank yous that I can give… because a little late can be too late.

  49. 349
    Beth says:

    oohhh Beth! Your story sounds so much like mine! I have quite a few teachers that just made me feel so special in high school, but I’ll let you in on two of them. One was my sophomore and junior year English teacher – Christie Hofknecht. Senior year…a group of us even had lunch in her classroom because we missed being her class so much. She was wonderful – always there with a hug and encouraging word (usually from the Word which was wonderful!) when needed. She was strict about her work, but we loved her nonetheless. She made me want to teach English and definitely influenced my current English major!
    The other is one special lady to me – Mary Gentry. She was my high school math teacher from Sophomore to Senior year. We had a history, though I’d never met her before – she’d grown up in a small town with my dad. No one dared fall asleep in her class or pull out their phones to text. Her notes were full of sly jokes and she was a pro-user of sarcasm. She invented it, I’m sure. She was harsh and her work was grueling, but I will never forget the first time she hugged me- after our AP Calculus exam and I was just falling apart with the intensity of the test. Since then she has been an integral part of my life in college, from comforting me and encouraging me when my grandfather died to just shooting me an email full of the things that frustrate her sometimes at work. She is wonderful.
    There is NOTHING like a good teacher. They just warm my heart!

  50. 350
    Susan T says:

    As I walked into my 5th grade class at a new school building, I was scared of the unknown… you see, Mr. Diggs was my first male teacher and he was also the first teacher that I had who was not white. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that Mr. Diggs was a part of my life. He taught me so much more than math and social studies. He taught me that every life has value- even the prisoner on death row. I was so happy to have him for my 6th grade year as well and felt so special when he asked me to run errands for him to the office or other teachers. It was during my 6th grade year, that my Dad got sick in the fall and passed away on my last day of school before Christmas break. I still remember how tender and caring Mr. Diggs was during this time of great loss. I remember even thinking for a long time that I would ask Mr. Diggs to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. When the time came, I asked my brother, but I can’t say that I didn’t think about it. It was during those years that the racial barriers that had been built up around my family, started to come down for me. I recently found Mr. Diggs on facebook and was so happy for the chance to tell him how he impacted my life.

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