Favorite teachers

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 Leave a Comment

The other day, my 4-year old and I ran into his preschool teacher from last year. He had adored her, so I was a bit chagrined to see him nonchalantly return her greeting.

"How's your class this year?" she asked.

"I love it," he said, "It's better than your class!"

I was mortified, but she took it in stride, telling him his current teacher was one of her favorites.

Later he explained: "Miss Aimee was my favorite teacher last year, but now Miss Kathy is. And she's Miss Aimee's favorite too!"

In a perfect world, every teacher will be his favorite as he goes through school. I had lots of favorites: Mrs. Carr, my second grade teacher who reminded me of my mom; Mr. Stout in 5th grade, a first year teacher; Mrs. Eubanks, my sixth grade teacher who saw something of a writer in me and entered a story I'd written into a contest; Mrs. Adams, my high school history teacher who kicked me out of her class the first day for being disrespectful, who later introduced me to Ayn Rand. A good teacher is one who cares enough to see the things you're good at long before you do, who can introduce you to new ways of thinking, who inspires and encourages you.

With all of this new focus on education, and Obama's Today Show challenge to teachers - to remove the bad ones (along with adding one more month to the school year, all of which I say yahoo to...), I'm wondering: what's the criteria for a bad versus good teacher? Test scores? Popularity? Do your kids have any bad teachers? (And I'm not asking for badmouthing or naming names!) How do you handle it?

My third grade teacher was a bad one. The details are fuzzy, but she made me so stressed out I began wetting the bed. My parents had conferences with her, but they never removed me from her classroom.

How about favorite teachers? How do you, as a parent, recognize those special teachers?