Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

evolution of feathers

To celebrate National Teacher Day, the TED-Ed staff took a moment to reflect on the teachers that shaped us. Who were some of the educators that really had a lasting impact on our lives — and why? Find out below!

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Chapman, had a huge influence on my life. She worked extremely hard to make sure that every student in her class knew it was okay (and in fact good) to be passionate about and interested in lots and lots of things. My particular passions at the time were hobbits, marbles and ancient Egypt. We weren’t exactly covering those topics in class, so she easily could have told me to “stay on task,” but instead she carved out time in our next visit to the school library to help me find a book that related to each topic. It’s impossible to describe exactly what I learned in her class, but whatever it is, I’m certain that I use it every single day.
— Logan Smalley, Director of TED-Ed

One teacher who had a strong influence on my life was my second grade teacher, Mrs. Schrittwieser. She was incredibly kind to me on my first day at a new elementary school and took the time to make sure I felt comfortable in the school. The moment that stands out for me is when she asked another student (who ended up being one of my first friends at that school) to take me around and give me a tour.
— Stephanie Lo, Director of TED-Ed Programs

My high school science teacher, Mr. Roberts, had a big impact on my life when he stood up for rational thought. By teaching evolution without wasting classroom time on Biblical creationism and intelligent design, he showed me that good science education is worth fighting for — and that it is possible to keep church and state separate in U.S. public schools. By offering extra credit to any students who turned in research papers on creationism and intelligent design in the context of the world’s many other religious beliefs, he encouraged all of us to stay curious and keep learning.
— Laura McClure, TED-Ed Editor

One teacher who strongly influenced my life was John Leistler, because of his genuine, infectious enthusiasm for art history, not to mention teaching, learning and exploring. I’ll never forget his Snake Goddess impression — an ululation and gestural evocation of this statue.
— Alex Rosenthal, TED-Ed Editorial Producer

My high school English teacher, Veronica Stephenson, had a big impact on my life. While she was undoubtedly an excellent English teacher, she sculpted me most through her unyielding support of my intense (and somewhat abnormal for my zip code) love of theater and the performing arts. As my school’s drama club advisor, she gave me countless remarkable opportunities not only to perform, but to really explore season curation, scenic design and more. Had she not identified and nurtured this passion in me, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to pursue it. Those teachers who really take the time to get to know their students and help them grow are rare, but she was one of them. Thanks, Veronica!
— Emilie Soffe, TED-Ed Editorial Coordinator

My educational decisions and career path were strongly influenced by Dean Elmore, Boston University’s Dean of Students. The moment that stands out for me is when he sat me down and told me what he believed to be the value of a liberal arts education. This sparked my interest in higher education, student involvement and the meaning of a college education.
— Caroline Cristal, TED-Ed Programs Coordinator

One educator who had a big influence on my life was my 12th grade English teacher, because she inspired me to always strive for more, but to have a critical eye for the world around me. The moment that stands out for me is when she had us participate in Socratic discussions about Kate Chopin’s Awakening.
— Tristine Baccam, TED-Ed Special Projects Coordinator

My sixth grade teacher, Ms. Jean DeSimone, had a powerful impact on my life. When I wrote out my sentences for our weekly vocabulary words, I made every single sentence about monkeys. Rather than tell me to do it over and take it seriously, she encouraged me to be creative in my weird way and keep relating every single vocabulary word to monkeys.
— Noah Tavlin, TED-Ed Animation Production Intern

Ready to reflect on the teachers who’ve impacted your life? Take a 5-minute break and try this TED-Ed writing prompt. Then share your response in the comments:

One teacher who had a particularly strong influence on my life was _________, because ______. The moment that stands out for me is when ____________.

12 Comments

  1. Henry Reining, Jr. USC Dean Emeritus had a great Impact on my life because he was an example of someone who put into practice values he said to believe.

  2. One teacher who had a particularly strong influence on my life was my V grade science teacher, Ms. Asha, because she taught me how to think critically and look for a logic behind everything. The moment that stands out for me is when she explained me the difference between the molecular architecture of solids liquids and gases. I learnt that day that if you fathom a concept once, you will never forget it but if you mug it up, you’ll never remember!

    Thank you Asha ma’am ! (thats how we address our teachers in India ;) )

  3. My Professor, my mentor, Our Principal Director, Professor (Dr.) Sanjeev P. Sahni has huge impact in my life. He opened my eyes to what I could be, what I could do, in a way that I’ve never thought possible. He took an ignorant student and made her want to see the world and beyond.I found guidance, friendship, discipline and love, everything, in one person and that is him. – Garima Jain, Sr. Research Associate, JIBS & Assistant Director, CVPS, O.P. Jindal Global University, India

  4. Launa

    The teacher who impacted MY life the most was my daughter’s sixth-grade teacher. My daughter did NOT like kindergarten. She had a difficult time in first, second , maybe not so much Third, fourth definitely and fifth grades. Her sixth-grade teacher was , in her own words, “a different world”. which totally prepared her for Jr.High. And now she is eager – EAGER!- to go to high school. So, thank you.

  5. Ammad Khan

    My III grade Tracher. Sir Muhammad Yousuf (May ALLAH let his soul be in Peace) was a pathfinder, an evaluator and a living legend MashaALLAH… he always believed in me and saw my future long before it ever happened, took me by hand and lead me to what I m today…!
    Thanks alot Sir, I do Miss you and cant find any alternative..!

  6. I am a teacher because I am in love with the process of growth. My personal growth, the growth of my students, and the growth of the world around us. As a teacher, I am privileged to be involved with the process of growth on a daily basis.

  7. Iskandar

    One teacher who had a particularly strong influence on my life was late Prof V. Kinoian of Fairleigh Dickinson University of Teaneck, because he helped me understand literature. The moment that stands out for me is when after a semi disastrous spring semester of American Lit with him, he asked me how I felt about his class. Being the only foreigner (Malaysian), I told him I can read all the books but somehow just couldn’t get it. Come the following Fall semester, I enrolled in his second American Lit Class. He started by saying he spent his summer rewriting his class materials because, and I quote him, “somebody didn’t understand my class last semester”, and looking at me in the eye. I felt small. Yet, big at the same time.
    I come from a country where education is forced curicullum. Here, somebody I barely know was willing to go the extra miles to help a kid in a foreign land.
    I owe you that Prof. And I practise to my students what you gave me.
    Thank you

  8. Chinmay

    One teacher who had a great impact on my life was M.R.Khake. He identified my love and passion for science and encouraged me to follow my dreams . Also he told me and still keeps on telling me- ‘Stay Hungry, Stay foolish and Stay curious’, ask questions then only you understand the things. I wish I could play a role similar to him in future to give courage to people to follow their dreams.

  9. Hera

    My 6th Grade teacher, Mrs. Leonisa Sta. Cruz, my friend, guide, and my very first campus journalism adviser. After four years, meeting about a hundred of other outstanding teachers, I’ve yet to meet someone who could match her enthusiasm and passion for teaching. I’ve yet to look at another pair of eyes glowing with such zeal and spirit as much as hers did. And wow, she was persistent alright in cultivating this awkward, messy-haired, unrefined, inarticulate, poor-postured, and perpetually confused teen. She never stopped til I “I lived up to my potential”. I remember her asking me random questions only to be followed by unending “and then?”‘s . And I thank her for that, thank her for pushing me, giving me that blazing head-start, thank her for being the model for all my convictions and virtues, giving me the dream to contribute meaningfully to this world, to expend my life consecrated to pursue an ideal greater than myself. In a talk with her, during my last days at that elementary school, she told me “Always be curious, remain wholehearted”, And I’ve been through a lot but I’ll be going through a lot more, and I’ll keep those words close to me. Thank you ma’am, I’m forever grateful.

  10. Carmen Wisdom

    My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Al Withrow, taught us to think analytically and critically. Rather than teaching us WHAT to think, he taught us HOW.

    He made us question every assumption, made us explain everything. “What makes you think that?” was his favorite response. I learned that I had an individual voice, that I could think for myself and had a responsibility to do so. It was so freeing, so energizing.

  11. Mamta Shroff

    One teacher who had a particularly strong influence on my life was Ms. Marriet, my Math teacher at senior school. Being a determined teacher and perfectionist, Ms.Marriet expected the best out of us. However, I failed my first term math exam and had no courage to sit in her class. Ms.Marriet helped me by solving each question of the paper under her personal guidance. In addition she counselled me to help overcome my shame of having failed and fear of poor performance in future. The moment that stands out for me is when I got a perfect score in the finals and she took no credit for it. She took the moment just as calmly as she would in a regular day’s class. Failure and success made no difference to her. It was only the learning she encouraged and achieved. Her dignified cool composure, intelligence and humility will never be forgotten.

  12. Avi

    hay ,i got 2016 best collections of quotes ,images ,sms ,poem, speech in different languages and much more from https://happy-teacherday.blogspot.com

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