My classmate posted on here about reflecting on favorite and most impactful teacher, and it got me thinking. In high school I had a few teachers whose classes I enjoyed and who I still maintain contact. The teacher I respect, appreciate and admire the most, though was my science teacher freshman and sophomore year.
I had Ms. Hester for both Biology and Chemistry. The fact that she was my favorite teacher is even more impressive since I am most definitely NOT a science person (I had to take Astronomy twice at UNC to get a passing grade).
Ms. Hester had a lot of traits that I appreciated in a teacher and think are important in a successful classroom:
She was ORGANIZED.
I distinctly remember her big, laminated binders filled with her lesson plans. They were organized chronologically, and she was never missing any resources she needed. She didn’t waste any precious class time searching for worksheets or slides. She also had all of our graded papers and exams sorted alphabetically in order to pass them back most efficiently. She encouraged us to stay organized with our work and it made me feel like she really valued our time and respected us as students. In turn, I wanted to respect her time and was more attentive in class.
She was STRICT.
I know a lot of students didn’t like Ms. Hester because of the fact that she didn’t mess around. She didn’t accept excuses for late work and demanded everyone’s full attention and cooperation in class. When we were doing labs she would not hesitate to send a mischief maker to the principal’s office. However, I think this was a great trait for a a woman in charge of a class of twenty-something teenagers. I had far too many classes where the teachers were walked all over in an effort to be nice and well-liked by the students. Ms. Hester was never unfair or unnecessarily mean. She simply didn’t tolerate adolescent foolishness. Her classroom was focused on learning the material and everyone knew it when they walked in.
She was HELPFUL.
From going over my exams in Biology freshman year to writing my letter of reccomendation for college applications senior year, she was always willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to help her students. When I rode the bus in the morning and had basketball practice after school she would spend her lunch break meeting with me to answer my questions (remember, I s.t.r.u.g.g.l.e. in science/math). She wrote smiley faces on work that you scored above a 95 on for encouragement, and gave the benefit of the doubt when grading. I always felt like it was a team effort with her and the students working to master the subject rather than a struggle between expectations and performance.
I don’t plan on pursuing teaching as a career, but who knows where life will take me after college. What I do know is that if I ever find myself in front of a classroom I hope I can model how Ms. Hester taught.