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Sun Feb 26, 2012, 02:31 AM


This is the reason I teach

I got this on facebook from a form student in the States.

dear Mr. ---,
i just wanted to say that even though it was years ago, and i was small, you made a great impact on my way of life. i hope you know that you are my favorite teacher still, and always will be. you made me look and belive that i could do things I wanted to do and not just what others wanted me to do. it's funny how far apart we are not, on diffrent continents and all, but i will always remember my favorite classroom. i hope you have a wonderful life in asia and where ever you go, and i hope that you do everything you said you were going to do years ago.
a student from the past
(name redacted)

Tell me who else does that in life?

Thank you for your war on teachers, Republican Party. But you have failed!

5 replies, 1136 views

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Reply This is the reason I teach (Original post)
Suji to Seoul Feb 2012 OP
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2012 #1
dballance Feb 2012 #2
nenagh Feb 2012 #3
no_hypocrisy Feb 2012 #4
Are_grits_groceries Feb 2012 #5

Response to Suji to Seoul (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 02:46 AM

1. Amen brother. My life was transformed.

By a good prof, he turned boring science into an insight into the deepest mysteries of existence. He'll never know either how much he changed my life, most of the time teachers never find out the difference they've made.

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Response to Suji to Seoul (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 06:33 AM

2. Thank You


Thank you for being a light and inspiration in the lives of young people. My former partner was a teacher and is now a principal. He is one of the most loving caring people I have ever known and his students love him for it.

Yep, he has to discipline and suspend some kids. But he hates having to do it. I am sure the kids don't really understand how teachers and principals really don't enjoy disciplining kids. I know from my talks with my ex they kinda feel it is a failing that they have to do that. A failing they couldn't help the kids.

Of course, I always told him he could never compensate for a kid's home life no matter how much he and the teachers tried in that short 8 hours a day they were with the kid.

Most teachers and principals are so great. I know mine inspired me.

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Response to Suji to Seoul (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 06:44 AM

3. My son was sitting in a first year Engineering class ...

When the professor asked the class to imagine something on a three dimensional axis, then imagine it was rotated in a certain direction...

He suddenly got a clear sensation that he (and the other students). were so lucky to be able to students of this prof.. Because this man electrified his thinking..

Well...he also loves to draw.

He has never forgotten that moment and would ask his friends had they experienced the same .. In their various fields of study.

Edit to add, wonderful that this student took time to send the message, lovely story.

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Response to Suji to Seoul (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 08:13 AM

4. In my small town this week, a veteran Guidance Counselor died.

He came to work 40 years ago. He was the coolest teacher in the school.

And on Facebook, the homages are numerous from middle-aged former students whose lives he impacted. Not to mention a packed parking lot at the funeral home on Friday night, complete with a Boy Scout Honor Guard at his casket.

Like the fictional character of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, this man's life touched so many other lives. He defined the town.

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Response to Suji to Seoul (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 08:32 AM

5. I got this email. It floored me!

So I graduated from X High School and did my undergrad at the University (a world away from HS) I studied biology and minored in chemistry with a focus on ecology. After graduating I worked seasonal wildlife biology jobs for a while. After a while it became clear that this was not really enough and I needed to go back to school. I had a weird epiphany one day about becoming a high school science teacher so I did an M.A.T. with a focus on biology. I didnít get a job anywhere that I wanted to live so I ended up spending just under a year traveling and working in Central America as an ecological/tourist guide.

When I got back to the states I ended up getting a job working for a museum in OR directing an NSF funded project that was a natural resource management and technology career exposure program for Native American students focusing on salmon mitigation efforts with a major cultural integration component. I did this for 5 years and Iím currently a doctoral student at University in the Science and Math Education Department focusing on free choice learning. I want to help facilitate outreach and education efforts for watershed scale restoration projects, Iím looking at ways to reach diverse stakeholders in these endeavors, particularly private land owners. Iím researching collaborative efforts and mechanisms for making inroads into rural communities where agriculture/logging is king. I want to try and change the way people approach land use and resource extraction. Ultimately I want to help create/enact land-use policy that will help balance natural resource extraction with ecological conservation. These are big goals and Iím just staring my Ph.D. and Iím already aware that I need to narrow my focus but Iím trying to clarify my interests.

Basically conservation and the preservation of wild areas have been a passion all my life. Iím studying different aspects of what goes into generating personal interests and emotions towards different subjects. I can now look back and recognize that your class had a huge impact on me at a critical period of my life. I donít know if you meant to do this or not but the way your framed environmental issues and concerns really had a tremendous impact on me. I do see that other experiences helped establish my interests (my parents are avid outdoor people), but your class was instrumental in developing what has really been the driving passion for my professional career.

I have interacted with hundreds (if not thousands) of kids over the years and Iíve often thought if I can have the kind of impact on them you had on me Iíll die happy. I figured if you had the kind of impact on me that you did maybe I can reach some kids on the same level. I try to create a spark in them relating to environmental issues and think about ways that they can make a difference. I have stayed in touch with several former students of mine and some of them are indeed pursuing science careers.

Iím moving away from focusing solely on youth education now but I will continue to be involved in activities like citizen science projects designed towards promoting ecological literacy across different age groups.

Anyhow Iíve tried to get in touch with you a few times over the years, I called the County school district etc but no dice until now. Hopefully this doesnít freak you out, I just wanted you to know that you reached at least one of your students on a truly profound level and really helped shape my whole lifeís work and passions. I canít help but think Iím not the only oneÖ

So here you go, 20 years later. I just wanted to make sure you know these things.


That's why I taught.

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