(Note: Over the past couple of weeks, a few of my classmates have written blog posts about their favorite teachers. If you would like to read those before you read this post, you can check them out here and here.)
When thinking about my own school experience and its most memorable parts, one teacher always comes to mind: Mrs. Lohmeyer.
Even as a third-year student at UNC, I have yet to have another instructor who has made the kind of impact she made on me three years ago (she also taught me how to use the word impact in a sentence).
She taught AP Literature during my senior year of high school. For the first few weeks of class, she absolutely terrified me. She is absolutely and unequivocally brilliant — I still consider her to be the smartest person I’ve ever met. She intimidated me in a way that no other professor has yet matched.
At first, it was incredibly hard to read Mrs. Lohmeyer. She did not coddle her students, nor did she berate them. She treated every student exactly the same way — with respect and an obvious interest in their wellbeing. Since studying education policy here at UNC and having the opportunity to observe other high school teachers, especially those who teach AP classes alongside general classes, Mrs. Lohmeyer’s dedication towards all of her students equally is especially admirable to me. She held all of us to the exact same standard of excellence, which is something that most of my peers and I never had to deal with before.
I do not think I am being over-dramatic in saying that I learned more in Mrs. Lohmeyer’s AP Literature class than I did in pretty much all of my other high school classes combined. At the very least, no class content has stuck to me like Mrs. Lohmeyer’s class did in my mind. Is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, has, have, had has somehow been permanently engrained in my mind.
There were moments in that class that still bring a smile to my face three years later, like the time she explained to us that spinoccoli pizza did really exist or the horror that came over her face when she learned that none of us had ever read the preface of the dictionary while we reviewed for the AP exam (“That’s the best part!”).
I also remember the time we found literary devices in Katy Perry’s Dark Horse and Fergie’s Fergalicious. I remember when we had to do socratic circle debates and lost our time to speak when we used passive voice (so we tended to lose our time speaking a lot).
Mrs. Lohmeyer made me want to be a better student. She made me want to pay attention in class. She had a way of always capturing her students’ attention. The 90 minutes we spent with her every always seemed fleeting. I have yet to have another class that felt exactly like hers did.
Every time I write a paper or read a novel now, I can’t stop myself from picking out instances of passive voice or literary devices.
I don’t think anyone who has taken a class with her would disagree when I say that Mrs. Lohmeyer makes a lasting impact on her students. A teacher like Mrs. Lohmeyer is incredibly hard to come by, which is why I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be taught by her.
If every educator was a little more like Mrs. Lohmeyer, I think the world would be much better off.