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.  “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.  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. 351
    Shannon Howell says:

    Oh what a wonderful post!

    My most favorite teacher was 3rd grade Mrs. Dill and she was the sweetest teacher ever. She allowed us to chew gum in her class! She treated us all with such dignity and respect. She was so much fun to be around.

    She had an incubator with eggs we all took turns turning the eggs, but to no avail they did not hatch. We also had fish in the classroom and I acutally did get to take one home for the summer. She also gave me a report card with straight A’s the only one I would ever see. She made me feel very smart. I wish I knew where she was now.
    Thanks for this post Beth

  2. 352

    While I had many great teachers the one that was sent to me straight from heaven was in college. My college physics professor. I came in as a physics and mathematics major not having a clue what I was going to do but enjoyed those subjects. So off I went. Signed up for calculus and physics both. Here I was a tiny, out of place freshman in a class of seniors believing I could do these subjects! And I did. I’m not sure if physics is a spiritual gift or not but God gave it to me. And partly because if my wonderful professor. Mid way through that first semester we had a project we had to present. I totally bombed it. I would have given myself a C at best probably worse. My professor gave me an A-. The man saw my heart. And he gave me another chance. In my performance-based loved life someone extended me grace and mercy and gave me a second chance. He saw qualities in me that others had mocked and he encouraged those traits in me. He mirrored God for me. He walked me through the sciences showing me both the facts and God. He was there for my questions, my struggles, and a bottomless well of encouragement and kindness to me. I am a better woman in God because of him. I pray that God will one day show him how much he impacted my life.

  3. 353
    Sheree Gantt says:

    My favorite teacher was my Home Economics teacher Mrs. Lindler. I was in the 6th grade and she showed so much kindness and motivation for all of us to succeed and to “get it”. It was Mrs. Lindler who showed me to have respect and to truly love the “love of learning.” Till this day I am hooked on Dawn detergent and keeping a clean kitchen (oh and folding clean fresh towels!).I admired how Mrs. Lindler dressed so professionally with crisp iron pressed slacks and matching shoes with her outfit. She is one of the women in my life who I admired and looked up to!She taught me to be organized and to match! Beautiful woman in deed and in spirit!!

  4. 354
    Geri says:

    Mrs. Larson…

    Mrs. Larson was my foruth grade teacher and I will never forget her. My mom worked a full time job and when my aunt could not babysitt me after school, my mother would become quite frazzled at who would watch me.

    One day Mrs. Larson announced to me after school that I would be going to her home after school until my mom got off of work. My poor mom must have been desperate that day no knowing what to do and Mrs.Larson came to the rescue.

    I got to do what most children could only imagine, I got to see my teacher outside her normal habitat and explore her HOME! And Mrs. Larson did not dissapoint. Her home had two babies in it, but they were not human they were cannine. These two collie dogs lived the high life, everything from a private closet filled with toys, another closet filled with good behavior toys, and another closet filled with goodies and treats. She showed me pictures of her dogs birthdays and trips they had taken.

    That day was filled with fun and laughter and she often was the backup plan for my mom. I was in good hands with Mrs. Larson, she showed me so much love and she made me feel like the most special nine year old ever!!


  5. 355
    Annette says:

    It’s really a tie between 3 teachers I had at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and School in Houston. Mrs. Horr was my 7th and 8th grade English teacher who imparted a love for Shakespeare; Madame Bencze who scared the socks off me in French class from 5th grade until my junior year; I discovered at home she had a terrific sense of humour and a love for the arts; and finally Mr. Stewart, my high school English teacher and yearbook sponsor.He knew we were cheating on a pop quiz one day (we were Christians after all) and could not catch us. I will never forget him saying Jesus knows what you are doing.

    All 3 teachers imparted their love for learning and showed us the love of God and ethics I value today.

  6. 356
    Delta Dawn says:

    Love this post!

    Oh how I loved school, even middle school. I am a “pod” product and was the crazy kid crying on the last day of school, mainly because I would miss my teachers. They are the reason I became a teacher.

    I was thinking just yesterday about something my favorite middle school PE teacher, Carol Rawlins,wrote in my autograph book almost 20 years ago. She told me that she believed in me. She couldn’t imagine what that meant to me, that I would still be thinking of that. May we all speak affirmation in others.

    I also had a great volleyball coach in high school, Denise Fountain. The Lord has blessed me in that I’ve been in contact with her over the years and even worked in Women’s Ministry with her. She is a woman who is truly worthy of emulation and as a teenager I am so grateful the Lord put someone like her in my life to be a godly mentor.

  7. 357
    Andrea S. says:

    Hands down Mrs. Rosevold. She was my “core” teacher in junior high and she loved us all as if we were her own kids. I look at my junior-high-aged daughter and I marvel at the passion she must have had to teach at that very awkward age. I remember her telling a group of us very hormonal girls that were giggling at something crude and she said “Girls- just remember where the mind goes the body often follows…keep your thoughts pure.” That memory is etched so crystal clear in my mind…and I often recite those same words to my beautiful teenage daughters. She only taught at our school for a couple of years and I was so very blessed to have her both years and we cried right along side her when she made the decision to resign from teaching and go back to helping her husband on the farm.

    Thank you sweet Beth for this blast from the past!

    In Him,

  8. 358
    Christie says:

    Reading these comments makes me so glad that I became a teacher. I hope that I impacted my little second graders in this same way! I’m home taking care of my own babies now, but this post reminded me that teaching really is in my blood.
    Thinking back, I can’t name just one favorite teacher. Mrs. Booth in AP English and how we had “white paper” Friday. Instead of doing actual work some Fridays, we would put questions and topics into a jar, pull them out, and have a discussion. So great. Then there was Mr. Shaffner, my calculus teacher. We had so many inside jokes with that man – somehow it made calculus fun! I could probably say something nice about each of my teachers. I loved school and loved my teachers!

  9. 359

    This is such a precious story, and what a GIFT from the Father to see your beloved teacher!

    My favorite teacher was my theatre teacher, Mrs. Bette D’Armond. She taught me everything I know about the stage, and she brought out a true gift in all of her students! She was the first teacher to challenge me to not just get by in life, not to settle. Quick story, our first production was Alice in Wonderland and I was cast as Alice. She double cast the show because we were performing it for several elementary schools, and we had a big class, so I was the main Alice, then a soldier in the second cast. Well, I didn’t take the class very seriously at first and didn’t memorize all of my lines figuring I could just ad-lib my way through it. She was so livid the first show when the other Alice had to keep feeding me my lines that she decided to give me a good life lesson. The next production was a collection of Shakespeare monologs, sonnets, and soliloquies–my punishment was a monolog, Kate’s last speech in The Taming of the Shrew. I had to perform alone, and there IS no ad-libbing for Shakespeare. I spent my whole Christmas vacation laying on the couch with my nose in the script memorizing that piece. It was such a great lesson. I’ve never forgotten it, and sometimes when I feel like cutting corners on something and not performing (In school, as a wife, and mom, etc…) to the absolute best of my ability, I remember that discipline is important, and that a little extra gumption goes a long way!

    Thanks for this Beth! What great memories!

  10. 360
    Renee' says:

    Hi Beth. My favorite teacher, Gloria Cutrere (not sure of spelling–sounds like “cute rare”)taught third grade at Garfield Elementary school in Houston, TX. I felt like teacher’s pet, although she could’ve made us all feel that way. I thought she was the coolest! She even came to our house once and had cake and coffee with my mom. We moved out of state after I finished third grade and I lost contact with her. That was thirty-some-odd years ago, but I’d love to know where life took her.

  11. 361
    Carrie says:

    My favorite teacher was Hugh Clark. He was an Accounting and Computer Science teacher I had in high school. He knew just how to gain respect from a class and be fun and joke around at the same time! I loved him and he made it, so that I enjoyed going to school. I always looked forward to his class.

  12. 362

    wow! What a cool experience. I have two favorite teachers. One of my favorite teachers was my high school English teacher, too. The other was my Political Science 206 professor at A&M…she’s the one who inspired me to major in Political Science. I minored in English and went on to be a teacher, inspired greatly by two great teachers! Now my passion lies in teaching my own children and in teaching the Bible to women…inspired by one of my favorite Bible teachers. Wonder who that could be? 😉

  13. 363
    Courtney says:

    Janie Neighbors – had her at Northwest Academy in 8th grade, and 10th, 11th AND 12th. She also commanded respect, although never demanding it. She is the reason I cannot do “text speak,” and will try my hardest to never end a sentence with a preposition. I love literature and I love writing because of her. At times, I even blog with the thought, “What would Mrs. Neighbors think if she read this?” She is still fantastic, and I love her.

  14. 364
    Julie says:

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Ables. She taught me in 7th and 12th grade english. I would sit spellbound as she told us stories from Greek mythology and Henry the 8. She always had a smile on her face and was very kind. BTW, did you have the carrot salad at lubyslast week?

  15. 365

    Oh, Beth…you just pulled the tears right out of my eyes. I mostly lurk around Siestaville, but, tonight, I had to speak up.

    You see, I’m a high school English teacher who is now staying home with my two small children. I fiercely miss teaching reading and writing and can’t wait for the day the Lord gives me the thumbs up to head back to the classroom. He led me down quite a path to becoming a teacher, which, to this day, remains my most intimate experience with our Savior.

    I admire teachers like Mrs. Fanett. It must have been such a proud moment for her to see all you’ve become (in the flesh…not just on the book covers!). I know she had to have been honored!

  16. 366
    Myra says:

    My favorite teacher was my sixth grade math teacher, Mrs. Watts. She loved teaching and was not afraid to show her passion. I learned much more from her than math. I learned how to love others, how to have integrity, how to shor respect, and what my motivation for excellence should be. She and her husband happened to be my church youth group leaders for my high school years. She showed the love of Christ just as well in her classroom as she did in the church sanctuary.

  17. 367
    Cathy Clark says:

    I was blessed with many excellent teachers but the one who inspired me to be a teacher was Mrs. Helen Alcorn. After being scared to death of my first grade teacher I was in Mrs. Alcorn’s 2nd/3rd grade class. She was an excellent teacher and she made me feel so special. I just loved her! Now I’ve been teaching first grade for 26 years and I do try to make each of my students feel special. I am so very blessed to be a teacher of little ones — I love it!!

  18. 368
    Andrea says:

    I think my most favorite teacher was Mr. Marcy. He made microbiology interesting and anatomy & physiology too (but that is already interesting). I loved his droll sense of humor and friendliness and his interesting lectures. He told jokes and once said that Lysol is his favorite fragrance next to Chloe, but I don’t think that was a joke. I’ll always remember the septum pellucidium (which is in the brain) because I got in an argument with him over it after an anatomy lab test. If it wasn’t there I didn’t think it was right for that to be the correct answer, which would make my answer correct. I think my science classes with Mr. Marcy helped me to become an A student.

  19. 369
    Chesney says:

    First of all, that same urge that told you you only had seconds to grab her before she left was the same urge i felt when i saw you in Atlanta at the So Long Insecurity conference and I knew I had to get a hug…and I’m so glad I did! 🙂

    I went to Christian High School for freshman and sophomore year, then we moved and God called me to homeschool. Im now going to finish my senior year with the best teacher and mentor in my life, my mom, but i have a favorite “real school” teacher. Her name is Mrs. Friday. She is the spanish teacher and always encouraged me where school was related, but my favorite thing about Mrs. Friday was her real, living, every moment of everyday relationship with Jesus that she let shine so bright that I learned way more than just Spanish in her class. She spent the first 30 minutes of every class talking about Jesus which served not only as a delay in the pending test or quiz but also a refreshment to my soul! In a sometimes legalistic enviornment she taught love, grace, and brought such depth to my day. Jesus, please bless Mrs. Friday for sharing you with us every day!

    Miss Beth- just so you know, if we are talking Bible teacher favorites, you hold a very special place in my heart!

  20. 370
    Jen H. says:

    Mr. Hill… 6th grade. He was HILARIOUS and loved us to pieces. He had a big fuzzy moustache and wore woven ties with plaid shirts every day. He was the first and only teacher to ever give me a detention for not clearing off my desk all the way before a test after several warnings (I’m sure he regretted it as soon as he gave it to me.) At my detention we talked and I walked out knowing that he really cared about me. I was so awkward. I had huge, thick glasses, but in the middle of that year I finally got my contacts. He let his former students come in and write silly things on the chalkboard and, one time, even let me bring my fake throw-up to school and act like I lost it during class. Too bad I couldn’t keep my cool, because as soon as I did it, I started rolling on the floor laughing. He laughed like the Pillsbury Dough-Boy when you pushed on his tummy on the way in from the playground. He walked around with a big blue ape from who-knows-where. It seems there are a lot of random snapshot memories I have of him, but I think he may have been the first man who ever made me feel really special- not in an inappropriate way at all… but I had never had that in my life, and I think that’s why he impacted me so much.

    We kept in touch and when I was a sophomore in high school, he got married and invited me to his wedding along with some of the other students from my year and the year before me. When I graduated from college with my teaching degree, he sent me a sweet card telling me how proud he was of me. And what is really amazing is that, my first year teaching, I had a VERY difficult student that ended up having to be transferred to an emotionally disabled class. She had to go to an inpatient program before she went to her new class, and who was the one to welcome her and be the one to guide her while she was there? Mr. Hill… amazing how God crossed our paths again.

    I don’t remember a lot of THINGS he taught me, but I will always remember him, how he cared so much, and how fun he made school. He’s the one who made me want to really go into teaching… I’m a stay-at-home-mom now, but my last is starting Kindergarten, so I may go back someday. But I’m just going to enjoy a few months “off” before I start thinking about it again. I’m so thankful for Mr. Hill!

  21. 371
    Tina says:

    Oh how I LOVED reading your post today! I was on the edge of my seat. I had some great teachers too. I actually have two best teachers in my whole small town world and they were math teachers. Probably why I went into accounting. The first was my Algebra II teacher, Coach Charlie Brand. We would call him Charlie Brown and he didnt’ mind. It wasn’t out of respect but out of admiration. I loved going and learning math and couldn’t get enough. In fact, the next year I graded papers for him when I was a Senior. He even attended my wedding. Every now and then I’ll see his wife when I go home for a visit while I’m shopping. The other math teacher was Mrs. Oglivie. She taught all the upper level math classes (Pre-Cal, Trig, etc). She made it all so very interesting. She was soft spoken and something about her demanded respect. NO ONE ever thought about trying to get away with anything in that class, not that she was strict but you just didn’t want to disappoint her! Just last year, I found her on facebook and she friended me. To me she looks the same and how I felt like a 18 year old again when I saw her on that page. Silly…as she couldn’t even see me face to face but it felt that way. She is an amazing woman and everyone that has ever had her for math feels the same way I do. There is a bunch of us on her list of facebook friends. It’s interesting isn’t it how much an impact good teachers have on our lives? I so hope my girls have some of those teachers like I had. I’m betting they have already!

  22. 372
    tracey says:

    I must come out of the shadows of your blog to comment – one of MY favorite teachers was none other than MR. Fanett! I had him for calculus and he was awesome. I distinctly remember that he took a couple days off over valentine’s day that year, so he could take his wife to lunch. in Paris! that’s exactly how he told us, and we were so tickled. of course I really don’t know if it’s the husband of your fanett but it certainly could be, he was at Klein hs. what a great memory, thanks Beth!

    • 372.1
      Sheila says:

      And I so remember the year he took Mrs. Fanett to Paris for lunch. Always spontaneous, loving and caring.

      Mrs. Fanett worked with me at KF and then Mr. Fanett worked for me when I became the mathematics coordinator for KISD. Mrs. Fanett was also my daughters English teacher for two years.

      What a blessing to know two phenomenal teachers who have touched the lives of so many students.

  23. 373
    Anne says:

    I’ve already posted, but I had to get back on and give a shout-out to my HS Bible teacher, Mr. Hall. He was also the speech teacher and mentored me one-on-one. That man taught me everything I know about how to tell a Bible story. He will never know how many children he never even met whose lives he has impacted.

  24. 374
    Lydia says:

    Oh wow! I loved this post so much! Thank you, Mrs. Beth! My favorite teacher was my piano teacher. She taught me for ten years (my entire piano career thus far). I’m changing teachers now because Mrs. Abbie (my beloved teacher) feels that I need someone to teach my at a higher level in case I want to study music in college. Mrs. Abbie has been my teacher and friend. She has supported me through many tough times, including my dad losing his job and a really, really bad piano competition. She’s a lovely Christian lady who I’ll miss very much. Thanks again! 🙂

  25. 375
    Leslie says:

    HANDS DOWN, my favorite teacher was Ms. Berlin for H.S. Honors Math in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1980’s. This lady was passionately in love with ALL things math, and she exuberantly taught us everything she knew. She had “her way” of running her class, she expected your complete attention, your dedication….. and in return, she would go “above and beyond” to make sure you grasped the concepts she taught. I loved her. I trusted her. I wanted to BE her. She validated me. Her tests were FAIR. She genuinely wanted to help me. Oddly, she is the only teacher I remember actually ASKING for help. (You see, I was far too perfect to ever let any teacher think I wasn’t catching on.) I was REAL with Ms. Berlin….she saw me with no mask, and she made me feel safe. I excelled at math, I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to sit in the last seat in the first row every day.

    I had Ms. Berlin for three and a half years of math when the administration decided her classes should be taught by another teacher. I was with him for only one semester, and barely passed Calculus. Devastated with such a drastic change in my love of the subject and the grades I was receiving, I lost my passion for math. It never returned. (Unfortunately, I doubted myself that I had ever been good at it at all…)

    I think about her often, and I can still picture her petite figure, her adorable Dorothy Hamill haircut, and those bright white teeth as if she was lovingly standing next to me assisting me with a problem. I miss her….and the love I had for math because of her. I hope her life was blessed…happy…fulfilled.

    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Beth. I love you.

  26. 376
    Marie Stevens says:

    My favorite teacher was my junior high Art teacher. I first had her when I was in the 7th grade and as a new teacher, she was young compared to all my other teachers. I simply adored her! She made me feel special and even worked with me on a particular painting in the 9th grade that won First Prize! I was so sad when I had to leave the junior high and go to the high school. Upon graduation, I moved to Greenville where I ran into her. She remembered me and invited me to visit her in her new apartment. Wow–I was thrilled! I was finally a young woman and it was as if we were old friends. I lost track of her, but I’ll never forget her.

  27. 377
    lavonda says:

    My favorite teacher was my high school English teacher, Mrs. Gaskins. I had her in 9th grade, and again in 12th. I was hands down the teacher’s pet (she probably had many). But I knew she liked me. We’ve run into each other several times over the years. And it’s always a warm hug and fun reminiscing that follows.

    I can’t remember right now my english professor’s name from my sophomore year of college, but she told me (and wrote it on my papers!) that she’d like to see my written word published one day. I still have a box of those graded papers somewhere (in daddy’s warehouse? in mama’s attic??) that have her remarks written on them. I saved them all, just in case I were to ever write – and be published – when I was older. I would still love to fulfill that dream one day!

  28. 378
    Kim B. says:

    I had a few Mrs.Fanett’s too Beth.
    First of all, there was my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson. She was THE most precious woman on the planet to me at the time. She insisted we call her “Aunt Lizzie”. So we did. And EVERY Friday, she baked homemade banana bread for every class. I have loved banana bread every day of my life since the 5th grade. After that, Mrs. Glasser and JD Reeder, my high school English teachers rocked my world. They were amazing! Dr. Reeder reminded me of C.S. Lewis. He had read every book known to man (or woman!) he loved the Lord and he taught with such passion we were mesmerized by his insight every single day. Mrs. Glasser did not leave ONE student behind. She would work and work and work with a student (even if 99% of the class got the assignment) until EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US had perfected it and could move on. She never gave up on one of us. Not a single one. I wish I could go back in time and wake up that 5th grader and that 10th and 11th grade girl (me!) and say…PAY ATTENTION MORE CLOSELY…these teachers are imprinting wisdom on your heart and mind that will change your life! I wish I really knew then what I understand now.

  29. 379
    Julie Kate says:

    I was really blessed with my teachers… God knew He was molding the teacher inside of me as He chose them each year. 🙂

    If I had to pick just one, which is so very difficult, I would pick one of my education professors. Dr. S taught me in math strategies and was the first professor who actually modeled what she taught. Instead of telling us to teach with hands-on activities but lecturing the lesson (like many education professors do), she taught us the way we should teach our students.

    She loved our class and teaching. Every Friday (our scheduled class day), she would come in dressed to a T, smiling, telling stories, and over prepared for the 90 minute class. If a lesson was a challenge, she would stay for over an hour after class, answering questions and encouraging us if we were down & out.

    After the semester came to a close, she & I stayed in contact over e-mail & office visits. It’s been two years since her class, and we still e-mail on a weekly basis. She is the teacher who keeps on teaching after you get your A & your diploma. 🙂

  30. 380
    dawn says:

    Oh my, I guess mine would have to be my fourth grade teacher Miss Anna Fleet. She was tall thin and had the
    grace and smile to melt a heart. She was young and very
    excitied about teaching…you knew it by her eyes. She always encouraged and was straight to the point. Her grace comes from her strong faith and walk with the Lord.
    She always asks about our family and I was lucky enough
    to have my girls have her as well. I just love when I
    see her out. She is still just as lovely as ever and I
    dare say she ever ages. She will never know how much she
    has touched our familly with her kindness. I love to learn and still can remember her encouragement.

  31. 381
    Angie Pairan says:

    Oh Beth, you make me think about my dear Mrs. Hatton!!She was so great she was the TV Studio lady and I was on the school news my Junior and Senior year. We had studio first bell and I had study hall second bell, so I would sit with her and chat as she turned on and off all the shows for the entire school. Since I was mentally abused as a child and also overweight, she was a muched needed ear for me as well as a true blessing. Still to this day when I see her at the high school graduations I can’t help but think about how great she was!! Thanks for bringing up these memories!

  32. 382
    Laura says:

    I know where you “saw somewhere” the reference to french-tipped nails! 🙂 It was so fun to get our CT mag today in the mail and read about the Beth we all know and love. I enjoyed and cheered at the positive things the 2 authors had to say, and cringed with defensiveness of my Siesta Mama when they dared to be critical. How wonderful it is to “know” the real Beth Moore by sharing life with you on this blog. To read these words interviewers have written about you and to know much more of the heart and daily-ness about the woman and her world behind them brings a special, knowing smile to my face!

  33. 383
    Michelle says:

    I am smiling as I write this because i had an English Professor at the nearby Juco (of which I was attending on a basketball scholarship) who was by the world’s definition a major geek. He was the plaid jacket, bow-tie teacher who introduced me to My Antonia and why a story becomes a classic. I loved my first ever English Lit. class and have been in love with the written word ever since. After this juco, I continuted basketball at a private Methodist college in Baldwin City, Kansas. I, again, happened on a brilliant English Literature teacher (Flambert) who was the complete opposiste of my then boyfriend and now husband whom I just loved! I would sit at the very front of his class (my honey sat at the back) and love his lectures/book discussions on Flaubert, Grendel, Madame Bovary and so on . . . I dearly believe God has given me the gift of loving the richness in His word because of the teachers who have inspired me throughtout studying the written word. I belive the Bible is the greatest love story ever! Praise God for wonderful teachers:)

  34. 384
    MDPH says:

    I took a religion class (secular university) to fulfill a requirement, and ended up with a minor in it, along the way encountering my favorite teacher ever. From his class on 19th century religion in America, I emerged with knowledge and interest in architecture and all sorts of other things! This professor did not isolate his topics, but put them in historical or cultural context, often highlighting things that he was passionate about (such as architecture) It was contagious! I don’t remember many details about 19th century religion, but every trip I take down a historic road for the rest of my life will be enriched as I notice and appreciate the vestiges of 19th and early 20th century America recorded along the way — “Oh! Look at that– it must have been an early gas station! … Oh, what a charming port cochere–and the carriage stoop is still there! ” My husband’s a bit tired of it, but I know Professor Holmes would be delighted!

  35. 385
    Ashley says:

    My 3rd grade teacher, Miss Miller. We were learning our multiplication facts and every Friday we would have a quiz and I just couldn’t do it. Being timed for a minute or two to see how many we could do in the time limit nearly put me over the edge. I remember one day crying about it feeling like “I was so dumb”. Miss Miller picked my little petite self up and set me on her lap and told me that I was not dumb and gave me a talking to that made me feel like I could conquer anything. I’ll never forget Miss Miller.

  36. 386
    KMSmom86 says:

    My favorite teacher was my sophomore geometry teacher, Mrs. Kerr. She was extra special because she was also my mother. She had a love for geometry and math in general that I did NOT share. I still don’t… I was intimidated by math and struggled with most concepts. I remember having trouble with subtraction in the second grade. One night my mom and I sat at the kitchen table with a pile of apples. One by one she moved them to a different spot, saying, “You take it away. You take it away.” About halfway through the second time around, I got it!

    My mom had taught for many years, and most of the town had been her students. She taught many of my friends’ parents. Anyway, I had her for geometry when I was a sophomore in high school. She got me through that math class with As and Bs, just like all the others. She would often have evening tutoring sessions in our family room with me and 30 of my closest friends. She used the blackboard my sister and I had played with as children to explain proofs, theorems, etc. She truly cared that we understood why we did something a certain way as well as ensured that we knew how to do it.

    The maddest I ever saw my mother in my whole life was in my geometry class, but she wasn’t mad at me. Rather, two girls had given her trouble all year long. When I asked her why she didn’t throw them out of class, she would smile and say that someday she’d have enough. Sure enough, one day she threw them out of class. She didn’t yell or even raise her voice, but she was so mad that she shook. The whole class looked at me and someone asked if she got that mad all the time. I responded that my sister and I were not stupid!!

    Mrs. Kerr would go out of her way to help students understand geometry, even if it meant 7:00 a.m. in her classroom or midnight in our living room. She retired from teaching in 1983, and from this earth in 2004. I am honored and blessed that she was my teacher and also my mother.


  37. 387
    Karen E says:

    Oh yes, there is nothing (I can’t write ain’t!) like a good school teacher! My best teacher was also in English — 10th grade English and then I took her seminar class in 11th grade on J. D. Salinger. She’s Ms. Carolyn Tank, later known as Mrs. Van Zantes, at West High School in Iowa City, IA. She taught me how to write a paper and wrote my college recommendations. When I got to college, I helped other freshmen write their papers because it seemed that I was the only one that knew how already. One of my majors was English. My children have also benefited from Ms. Tank’s expertise, and they’ve all read Salinger!

  38. 388
    Tack says:

    Growing up I lived in a small rural Oklahoma farming community and there were 15 people in my graduating class. Sometimes it was hard to find someone who wanted to come teach the core high school subjects, especially since they could make more money teaching elsewhere. Thankfully God sent us Irene Mathews. She was the smartest women I have ever known, she was certified to teach English, Science and most importantly Mathematics. Each time we had an opening in one of those areas the school could hire the best candidate because she would teach whichever one they didn’t.

    Mrs. Mathews was a single mom raising two kids on a very meager salary. She could have been successful at many other careers or could have taught somewhere else for so much more money. I am so thankful she didn’t. She challenged me and would give me just enough help to get going again when I found a problem I couldn’t solve. For the first time I felt like someone understood my logical analytical side and even thought it was a good thing. Most of all she listened to me and didn’t treat me like some stupid high school kid. She saw me as a person of value, my parents did too but I thought they had to since parents just loved you no matter what. I learned as much about life and myself from her as I did whichever subject she was teaching. She loved learning and taught me you could never get enough of it.

    People where I grew up celebrated the good times but saved the tears for really sad things like the death of a loved one. Losing crops, livestock, and other hard times were the norm and you learned not to show any emotion over those things. So when Mrs. Mathews asked my best friend and I to stay after school the day of graduation I’m not sure what touched me the most. The fact that she had bought us presents that I’m sure caused her to do without not only luxuries but necessities or the fact that there were tears in her eyes when we said goodbye. I was never the same after that day.

    Did she make an impact on my life? I’ll answer that with on August 17th I report back for my 23rd year as a high school math teacher. My parents were so disappointed I didn’t do something “important” with my life, but I believe teaching high school is the most important job on the planet!

    I learned Mrs. Mathews had to retire early due to very poor health. I wrote her a letter telling her how much she had impacted my life and how thankful I was to have her. I told her that in some ways she was not retired because every day I stepped into the classroom there was a little bit of her that went with me. I don’t know if she got to read it because she passed away soon after I sent it. Her funeral was filled with coworkers and her former students. I knew then mine was not the only life she touched.

    Thanks for letting me tell about a wonderful woman and providing encouragement for a new school year.

  39. 389
    JLynn says:

    This one is easy. My favorite was my 6th grade teacher, Raymond Lutz. He is in heaven now and I haven’t thought about this before, but I am really going to enjoy seeing him again! He inspired me with his ‘bravery’. I was in 6th grade when the law was passed that there would no longer be any prayer in school. When Christmas time came around that year, he made it clear that in HIS class, we all would be free to talk about the reason for Christmas even if that meant they would fire him. My 11 yr old soul loved him for ‘standing up’ for Jesus and I grew stronger that day, in a way that has never left me. Thank you Beth, for a very precious memory!

  40. 390
    rene sandifer says:

    Approval, yes, seeing you as a person, not just a student, yes. My favorite teacher would have to be Barbara Ann Thomas, or BAT as she was called. She was my 7th and 8th grade speech and theatre teacher. We listened to hip music in the 70’s learning to loosen up in body and face movements. She had long blonde hair and laughed alot. She had us out to her lake house for year’s end party. She listend to us when we talked to her. My home life was way complicated and dysfunctional. I confided in her. She listened to me. I felt heard.
    She was a great teacher, and an even better human being.
    Thanks for sharing about Naomi….and for asking about BAT.

  41. 391
    Kelli says:

    I really didn’t have a favorite teacher but I had a favorite teachers aide. When I was in kindergarten we went full days every other day. I was DEVESTATED that I had to leave the comfort of my momma and go to this crazy place called school. Oh the horrors!! 😉

    Anyhow, my mom had to come to school just about every day I was there and literally sit in a small chair while I attended my ‘school’ duties otherwise I would cry and disrupt the class. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around being away from home ALL DAY LONG!!

    Long story short – about 4 weeks into kindergarten a new teachers aide came into my class. It was like God had opened the heavens and sent me an angel – and her name was Mrs. Bauer! Mrs. Bauer was a neighbor of ours that I had literally seen daily from birth. She was my personal angel and I remember (to this day) the relieved look on my mom’s face when I skipped home to tell her the good news. Finally mom was able to stay at home while I went to school. Good thing cuz shortly thereafter she found out she was pregos with my youngest brother.

    I adored Mrs. Bauer all through school (yes even High School) and I talked to her about all sorts of dreams, disappointments, and nonsense. She was the bomb!

    Thanks for the great story about your teacher and this fun thread of memories that everyone is sharing! It has been fascinating to read the entries.

    Kelli in Colorado

  42. 392
    Ryley says:

    I’m only sixteen, so I have plenty of teachers to come, but my favorite teacher so far has been Mrs. Manes. She, too, was my English teacher in both 8th and 9th grade. I’ve always loved writing, but up until then I hadn’t ever been seriously challenged to improve it, and I certainly hadn’t been told that I should consider being a writer possibly! After writing drafts for my papers I would bring my lunch to class with me and stay afterwards, discussing it with Mrs. Manes and laughing and talking with her. By the end of lunch period my paper would be a mess of inky scribbles and my heart would be full of joy. As soon as she finished grading the final draft she would hand me my copy, circling her favorite parts. To this day I will still sneak off to find Mrs. Manes for help with my papers… and sometimes just to say hi. 🙂 She is a strong Christian woman and I am so blessed to have her as an advisor and role model!

  43. 393
    Cami says:

    First of all, you would have seen my firstborn at Salata yesterday. She is the cute, young redhead that may have made your salad. Although you can’t see her beautiful red hair under the hat they have to wear. A horrible thing to do to a 15 year old. 🙂

    Anyway, teaching is dear to my heart. I knew I wanted to be a teacher at a very young age because of a neighbor that I babysat for. She was a wonderful teacher even though she was never mine. She was full of energy and made it look so fun. I always played school with the neighbor kids! Then in high school I had Mrs. Larson. She was my French teacher and was so cool. She made learning fun. Through a tragic event that I was a witness to during her class, we have a unique bond. I moved here to Houston shortly after the event and lost touch. I contacted her a few years ago and she was still teaching at the high school but has since retired. Her love of her subject motivated and captivated otherwise bored students. I went on to earn my teaching degree. I taught for 3 years in a public school but have used the degree mostly to homeschool my three beautiful girls; the oldest will be a junior in high school and my younger two are in junior high. I hope to instill in my girls the love of learning that these two very different but dynamic women did for me.

  44. 394
    Kelly Jo says:

    Well its not my First grade teacher Ms. Sells who taped my mouth shut with duck tape because I talked too much!!! Lord how mercy. Can you believe that? It’s a wonder that didn’t scar me. Well guess what? It didn’t work. I’m still talking. 🙂 Everybody tells me I should write a book I have the funniest stories but I’m more of a storyteller not a writer. Didn’t mean to get of track!

    I loved all my teachers but my very favorite is drum roll please…………………………. Mrs. Teresa Scott, she was the 6th grade English teacher and everybody’s favorite. I’ll never forget the day she was teaching on prepositions she jumped up on top of her desk and yelled its anywhere a mouse can go!! She always encouraged us and would not under any circumstance let you take the Lords name in vain. Anytime she heard someone say “God” she would yell bow your heads and the guilty one would pray! She really loved us and we loved her back. Thankfully we attend the same church so I still get to hug her neck. Mrs. Scott I love you

  45. 395
    Teresa says:

    We just went through the most severe episode of anxiety and
    depression with my son tonight who is just beginning high school. He has come so far in his sweet life, being struck with a mental illness at age 10. We thought he was ready, and I have bawled my heart our to God tonight, and I know He has heard. We believe some of this is spiritual warfare because a mom’s group is to begin praying for the school tomorrow morning. My son loves God and was so excited about trying to lead people to Christ, he even made a facebook page the other night. I beg anyone who is willing to pray for my son and this family. We need wisdom and a mighty touch from God tonight.

  46. 396
    Caty says:

    Beth I was hoping you could pass a word of thanks along to the fabulous youth from your church. I went to my school (in Pensacola) this afternoon to get a head start on putting the room together. Much to my surprise, there were tons of youth just hanging outside my door. After speaking with them I found out they came to my school and many other places throughout the community to do service projects. I was blown away that someone had chosen to come to Brownsville! I stayed for their youth rally and got to witness many students from our school interact with your youth group. They were the sweetest kids! Even more amazing, I got to see our students and their parents receive the word of God at school! What a blessing! The Brownsville community has so little and it was so wonderful of your youth group to spend their time and energy helping them. I know they appreciated it all! Thank you so much!

    • 396.1
      Tina says:

      WAHOO!!! My daughter is on that mission trip and she was SO excited to be able to go. She loves missions. I haven’t heard anything all week so your post is a blessing. I’m SO glad that they are a blessing to your community! Fasting and praying they make it home safely tomorrow. How great that YOU are a teacher. I’m sure you have touched so many lives positively.

  47. 397

    You mean besides you? ; )

    I’m going to have to go with Mrs. Dunn. She was both my 3rd and 6th grade teacher. She was just the sweetest thing and had the most beautiful handwriting. I’d practice and practice to try to make my own handwriting half as pretty as hers. When I got married and we settled down in a church, guess who was sitting in the front corner of the soprano section. Mrs. Dunn herself. I got to know her better over the course of the next few years, but I could never call her anything other than Mrs. Dunn. And she’s still just as sweet as ever.

  48. 398
    buldamari says:

    I was lucky enough to have a few really wonderful teachers. That being said Ms. Beatty is hands down the one who is my fav. She was my english and theatre teacher and I had her for classes 3 out of 4 years and was lucky enough to have her guide me as a theatre student all 4 years. This woman impacted my life so much, I don’t know why she was so good to me but it was not wasted. She helped me from a very insecure girl to one who had a bit more confidence. She truly helped shape the person I am today. She will always hold a very special place in my heart!

  49. 399
    Sparki2003 says:

    Hi Miss Beth,

    I am so glad that you were able to see your favorite teacher again ! And, it is even nicer that you are so willing to share your “little story” about her with us Siestas ! Thank you.

    Being that I AM a certified elementary school teacher now [1-8], it really means a great deal to me for you to suggest a blog post like this one. Speaking for myself, I absolutely “love” watching children learn, etc.

    I just pray that each one of the kids that I have taught/teach in any way, shape, or form [while I did/do substitute teaching, did teach full time for 4 years at Schulz Middle School in Waller, TX; or part-time teaching, substitute teaching or tutoring that I have been doing most recently] somehow learned/learn to enjoy reading and writing, and learning in general. And, even though most of my time teaching has been in public schools, I always tried/try my very best to teach children to believe that each one of them is “worth something”; as many of the students I have worked with have been slower learners than most, so I always tried/try to make a big emphasis on building up each child’s self esteem … So many kids think so “little” of themselves these days, and, most times, it is their peers who “put them down”, which just drives me crazy! One of the silliest things that I do as a teacher is to tell kids that they are absolutely NOT allowed to use the words “stupid, dumb, or be negative, etc.” in my presence.

    But, I think the craziest thing that I did to push this across to a group of children was back in Spring 2002. It was near the end of the school year, and I could somehow tell that “my kids” [my students] were not acting quite like themselves, and were getting really “negative” in the classroom again. So, I went back to one of my graduate school books to find some help, and help it did ! I found a book that one of my former professors had written, and I was so glad. There was a strategy in there called “Death to Put-Downs” in it. Basically, it was a 2 to 3 day process, which literally “bloomed” several weeks later. I asked each individual student to take a piece of paper and write down EVERY single king of “put-down” that he/she had ever heard, thought, or spoken in his/her lifetime. Then, much to their surprise, I asked them to tear this particular piece of paper to SHREDS, so much so they could barely pick the pieces up. And, then for the wildest and craziest part, I had purchased some small rectangular planters, some potting soil, and un-be-knownst to my students, I also bought some fast growing flower seeds to hide in the soil. So, once the kids had shredded their papers up, I gave them each a turn to literally “bury” these pieces of paper in the soil. They all thought that Miss Olmstead had “gone totally crazy” by this time ! And, I had each one of my classes do this, and it seemed that there were more little bits of white paper in these planters than there was potting soil, which did not amaze me. Then I made a “tomb-stone” that stated something like this, “Here Lies Put-Down Pam and Put-Down Paul, May They Rest in Peace”, and I stuck them into the planters. Then, when anybody, even a visitor to my classroom used a “put-down” statement [about themself or someone else], I pointed to the RIP Sign, and told them that we do not use those in here any more. And, within a few days, my students were telling one another and were pointing to this RIP sign, instead of me. And, by this time, we had placed these planters outside the school in the sunlight, and we even watered them every now and then… Then, one day, a few weeks later, one of my students told me that he or she saw something growing from our planters, and was so excited about it. So, when it grew a little taller, I brought the planters back into my classroom, and I asked the kids, “Why do you think these things have grown in the planters?” And, of course, being 6th graders, they said, “You planted some seeds in with our papers.” And, of course, I agreed that I had done so. However, I also asked them what else had happened since we began the process, and even they had to admit that there were very few students using “put-downs” in my classroom any longer… And, I asked them how they felt about that, and they all agreed that they felt much better working in my classroom this way. And, I had to quietly give God a “HIGH FIVE” for this success, but I also told them that each and every one of them had played a part in making the classroom a more peaceful and caring place to learn in. 🙂

    As far as my own favorite teachers, I cannot do this post any justice right now, as I need to get ready for bed. However, I definitely had at least one amazing teacher during my elementary, junior, and senior high schooling years. I promise that I will write about them later on.

    In Christ’s Love,

    Jennifer Olmstead

    Janesville, Wisconsin

  50. 400

    What an awesome story…I had a similar reunion with a camp counselor I had when I was 12. She kept up with me all these years and we got to see each other again this past June. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing, my mind has been reeling ever since.
    My favorite teacher was my high school French teacher, Mrs Rosemary McLaughlin. She had a contageous passion for the French language, and France. I took the class just wanting to get my one required language course out of the way, but ended up continuing on in French because I was sure one day I would see Paris for myself (and of course be able to order a hot chocolate when I got there). I did get to visit Paris. 😀
    So, I had to google my fine teacher just now to see what she is up to and she has retired from teaching and is an artist in Mesilla, NM. Her artwork planted a huge smile on my face…it’s as excentric as I remember her being.

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