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Teachers I remember

30 Aug 2015 | Posted Under Attitude

Best Teachers I remember

 I recently went to the 10th and the annual South Tampa Chamber of Commerce breakfast honoring the incoming new schoolteachers at District One – primarily the South Tampa area. There were many speakers present all honoring and welcoming and talking about the influence that these teachers could have on the lives of our children.

 It made me think back on my life and the significance of the teachers that I had and the impact they had on me. After your parents, your teachers and the kids that you meet in school become your new teachers in life. We learn from them by both teaching and observation and we build on that for the rest of our life.

 When I look back on my life there were three major pivot points in my life and a teacher was at the forefront of these moments.  The first, Miss Kennel was a kind a 23-year-old right out of college fresh as a daisy teacher. She made everything better with her amazing positive attitude. She always seemed so happy and was always up!


 I remember in the second she asked me to get up and read from the book we were studying.  I got up and read in front of the entire class and out loud!  This public display was a first for me.  Now, just how complicated could a story be in the second grade?   I can remember not feeling any nervousness as I stood up to read. When I got finished reading Miss Kennel asked me what I read?  What was the meaning of what I read?   I told her I had no idea and everybody in the class laughed that was the first time in my life that I remember being laughed at and not laughed with.  It was that awkward moment in life were all of a sudden things changed in a big way for me, at that very moment as I was being laughed at my second fellow second-grade students I felt scared and embarrassed and most importantly I felt really stupid!   In that instant, life changed. I have created an entire persona protecting me from that vulnerability.

 Miss Kennel came up put her arms around me and talked about the importance of reading comprehension and that was the purpose of the reading. It didn't change my mind however! I still felt I was stupid.

 The most important thing I remember about Miss Kennel, as it is with most things in life, was how she made me feel. Even though I felt frightened, confused and embarrassed, Miss Kennel made me feel great and that was my first exposure to the warmth and the impact a teacher could have on my life. She made me feel safe and that she cared about me. She has been a life long inspiration for me.

 The next significant teacher in my life was a freshman basketball coach and science teacher Ron Raver. Ron Raver influenced me more than probably anybody else at that point. As in most small town high schools coaches coached multiple sports and Ron was no different. He coached Freshman Basketball, Cross Country Running and an assistant track coach.   Ron was incredibly influential person in my life over the years. I could not make it to his retirement party but in a letter I wrote I counted up I had something like 35 different coaches and managers in my life and by far Ron Raver was the most influential.

 He was a relatively young man but an injury in college at Purdue University put him on path of severe arthritis. His body, even in his early 30s was painfully transforming him into something that would eventually be a physical disfigurement. He labored when he walked and his hands were starting to become disfigured. He was in constant pain but his smile was as constant. He was always supportive, he was always humble and he always helped you help yourself to bring out the best that was hidden with in yourself.  He was an inspiration to all of us.


The next was not so much a classroom educator but again a Basketball Coach.  In my early life I was developing a reputation of being a pretty good athlete. Basketball in Southern Indiana however was the god spot and that sport was to become my focus.  Kirby Overman, the new Varsity Coach called me into his office at the start of my sophomore year and asked me what were my goals for the upcoming season?

 I had to laugh this was really the first time anybody had and articulated the need for goals! Kirby was a very driven man and he knew that success came by establishing goals laying out an action plan to achieve them in honoring and celebrating the success. We laid out some very specific goals.

Make varsity as a sophomore, become a starting guard, score double figures and a few others. He knew that my goals would align with the team goals and together we would all benefit.

 In a few months later we reviewed those goals and I did what I was trying to do I did make varsity I did become a starter and I did score double figures.  

 What was consistent with all three of these teachers was how the sincerely cared and how they made me feel. Their attitude was brilliant!

 I've seen this quoted many times “people don't care what you have to say unless they know that you care, about them!”  These teachers cared about me and they forever changed my life!

 The one thing that I can bet everyone remembers?  You never forget your favorite teacher. So please be that teacher, and change their lives forever. ,








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