Do you remember your favorite teacher?

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We have all had them — teachers who have touched our lives for good and who have motivated us to become a better person.

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, and I wanted to take a quick minute to highlight some of the most impactful teachers I have had over the course of my life.

These teachers — all different — left a mark on my heart.

Email newsletter signup

In elementary school, it was a man by the name of George Seymour. He was the music teacher at Glen Cove Elementary School in Roanoke, Virginia, and was also one of the coaches for what was then known as Odyssey of the Mind in which I was a part of for one year.

Mr. Seymour, an entertaining man, was someone who made class fun. Over the years as my sisters and I went through the school and participated in OM, my family had the opportunity to get to know him more. We respected him dearly.

In high school, I had an English teacher named Kristi Fry, who I credit with helping me recognize my passion for writing and reading.

Up until that point, I knew I loved to write but I did not realize that I would want to do something further with it after I graduated from high school.

Fast forward to college, and I will never forget biology professor Gary Booth, who taught me many lessons — both academically and spiritually.

Dr. Booth, as we called him, made biology fascinating. With no prior interest in science, I will remember his biology class as one of my favorite courses in college.

As a freshman, I remember him telling us about the dangers of plastics near foods. We all thought he was a little quirky at the time, but now I realize he was just ahead of his time.

For a long time, he even researched a cure for cancer.

Dr. Booth also taught a religion class, and I worked for him as a teaching assistant for him for a time.

But it was beyond the classroom that Dr. Booth made such a difference. His door was always open to his students — both past and present — and you knew that he cared.

I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

Before I graduated, a friend and I organized a banquet for Dr. Booth and many of his former students to let our favorite professor know the impact he had on our lives.

I knew everyone loved this professor, but that night it became even clearer. Thanks, Dr. Booth, for the lasting memories and lessons.

Now, as a mother of two young children, I am witnessing yet again the amazing impact that teachers can have in shaping our lives.

Not just anybody can be a teacher, and I appreciate those of you who dedicate your lives to improving others.

Thank you for your patience, for your knowledge and for inspiring our children.

Take a minute today to thank a teacher that you or your child has had who has made a difference.

Teachers do much more than they may ever know.


Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. Her column appears each Tuesday.