Props: Teachers (K-12)
Many of my friends, myself included, are recent college graduates. In those four years, longer for some, we have shaped ourselves to the person we wish to become. For many, it was the time of freedom from adult supervision and the ability to make our own path. I am proud of who I have become, but I could not have done it without the help along the way that begins before you leave home. I am talking about the influence your K-12 teachers had on you, whether you realize it or not.
I want you to think of your favorite teachers. While they may be different people, I bet they share similar qualities. Did they just teach you how to find the answers, or did you actually have a little fun trying to figure it out? Were you just handed a formula to success or did they give you an adventure along the way? I have a long list of these influences on my life, but I will narrow it down to the three that left their mark in my mind.
My mother, Linda Swedenberg, was my sixth grade math teacher. We held elections for our class president, even though the position had no authority. Rachel, one of the candidates, promised the class a Spongebob cake and cheese cubes if she was elected. Between that and the other candidate being on of the six boys in the class, no one else stood a chance. We finished our lesson early one day and enjoyed our cheese and cake as a post election celebration.
I chose to take Japanese solely because I got a preview of the first day when Tsugawa Sensei visited my social studies class. For the first 10-20 minutes of class, he did not speak English at all. He would talk to us in Japanese and give us commands with the energy of someone who took multiple shots of espresso. If he told us to stand, he would demonstrate or walk up to the closest student and have them stand. By the end of class, we knew a few phrases, how to count and some basic words. Everyone participating traded a little bit of the comfort of a calm classroom setting to gain a much larger amount of excitement.
Mr. Marz taught Chem 1, Chem 2 and Physics at my high school. I had the privilege being his student for three years. He had such a cult following of students that we created a t-shirt with a shadow outline of him from a picture. There were also a number of his coined catch phrases on the front and back of the shirt. You knew someone was talking about Mr. Marz if you ever heard someone say, “Boom…got it,” “Minus five” or “Sigfig question mark.” This doesn’t even include all the chemical reactions he showed us, such as combining hydrogen and oxygen to create water (With a loud explosion). The science department has a little bit of an unfair advantage when it comes to attention grabbing demonstrations.
These people taught me the lesson of going above and beyond expectations. When you give 110% to anything you do, people will remember the extra 10% more than the other 100% you had initially promised. So even if it is something as simple as throwing a beach ball around the classroom (AKA Tsugawa Sensei’s vocabulary reviews), it resonates better than just calling on a raised hand. It is also hard to sleep in class knowing your teacher has tremendously unnatural accuracy with said beach ball.