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Ungaming and Comment Chaining Part 3

Directions: answer the question in the comment section.  Then leave a comment on the blog of the commenter directly before you (so it’s a chain.  #2 comments on #1, #3 comments on #2, etc.  If the commenter above you didn’t leave an address, just go one above that.  The point is to find new blogs/leave a comment–not stress).  The first person who comments gets a free ride and does not need to leave any comments.  The last person who comments gets…screwed.  My answer below the picture.


In case you can’t read it, the card states: DESCRIBE THE BEST TEACHER YOU EVER HAD.

My answer (because if I put it in the comments below, I’d mess up the chain): this was really hard because I kept juggling different choices.  Do I go with my high school physics teacher who was so great that I still remembered the formulas today?  Or my mentor from grad school?  Or my kindergarten teacher (I can tell you who isn’t on my list: my bitch nursery school teacher who didn’t let me sit next to the boy I had a crush on for the last Shabbat and instead sat me next to the boy with poison oak)?  I’m going to go with two because…hey…it’s the Ungame and anything goes.

#1: my college professor, Ron Kuka, who gave me coffee if I swung by his office in the winter before I walked up the hill, who was such an incredible writer himself that he made me fall in love with the short story, and who brought out the best in me as a student.  I can never thank him enough for all that he taught me about writing and the road he set me on.

#2: The story behind these words is too hard for me to write about, but I once had a professor–a woman–tell me that I had to get a thicker skin and essentially unlearn everything I knew about being a nice girl.  That I needed to stop being meek and grab the world by the cock and kick it in the balls for good measure.  She told me that there would always be people in the world who would try to bring me down and I had two choices, to kick them in the figurative balls or to drop out of everything and have nothing to show for my life in the end.  And while she may sound like a big bitch from this tough love talk, she inspired me to stick up for myself, to take what I rightfully earn, and to work my ass off.  And while she really wanted me to unlearn the nice girl, instead, I kept nice Melissa around and tempered her with the ability to deliver a few knee thrusts to the proverbial groin, but only when she really really needs to do so.


1 karlinda { 11.15.09 at 8:25 pm }

Has to be my (current) PhD supervisor. He’s great, & was my fella’s PhD supervisor too. His enthusiasm & his knowledge were what convinced me to start a PhD in the first place (that & tagging along on their Hawai’i field trip! 🙂 ). I also love how we can chat for hours & go off on a hundred different tangents, though that’s possibly not so good for my studies.

2 Beautiful Mess { 11.15.09 at 8:52 pm }

I have two favorite teaches, as well. Ironically both are math teachers and I thought I hated math.

I had a math teacher in high school, Mr. Gump> He was the first one to show me that numbers AND letters can both go in a math equation AND make sense! I always thought I was never good at math, it turns out I just need a really good teacher to show me the ways. And that’s where Roger comes in. He’s my math instructor now and is once again, showing me how it all makes sense. My love for math was hidden behind a fear of getting the wrong answer. Now that I know how to do a lot of it, I’m learning to love those letter/number combinations.

Love these games SO much! Thank you.

3 Elana Kahn { 11.15.09 at 9:24 pm }

This is an easy one. My music teacher from middle school was my favorite teacher ever. He grew my love of music, and I just adored him. I still dream about being in his chorus…

4 Valery { 11.15.09 at 9:33 pm }

My favorite teacher was Coach Draper. He was a history teacher in 7th grade. On one of my papers, he told me I wrote like Thoreau (the poet). I was a REALLY shy kid and we had a mandatory debate in his class. I was passionate about my arguments and my side won the debate. Coach Draper made me feel so good about myself. For the first time in my life, I felt “smart.” I ran into him years later and he addressed me by name and was genuinely interested in how I was doing. The thing is, I am deeply aware that it wasn’t just me that was given a gift of confidence from Coach Draper. Amazing teacher. Amazing human.

5 Jlynn { 11.15.09 at 9:34 pm }

Hands down Mr. P… Philosophy teacher my Sr. year of high school. He made us think… allowed us to question… opened us up to debates. No one was ever late to his class – we all looked forward to whatever was next to come. Some of us still talk about how much that one class shaped us 🙂

6 Valery { 11.15.09 at 9:34 pm }

sorry just added my website dustinnandvalery.blogspot.com

7 loribeth { 11.15.09 at 9:39 pm }

Also tough, because I’ve had some good ones. I would probably have to go with the man who taught me English in both Grade 10 & Grade 12 ( as part of team with the woman who taught me English in Grade 11). Together, they provided me with a strong foundation in the language & particularly in writing essays that I don’t think I really appreciated until I went away to university. I had people coming to me for help with essays who truly did not have a clue what they were doing. Mr. P (& Mrs. Y) made it easy for me. Mr. P. is now the principal of my old high school, & I actually sent him an e-mail a few years ago to tell him how much I appreciated the solid grounding he & Mrs. Y had given me. It’s not often that most of us let the influential people in our lives know what they’ve meant to us, & I’m glad I had the chance to do it.

8 Mrs. Gamgee { 11.15.09 at 9:45 pm }

Ohhh, good question!

I’m torn between two teachers as well. First, my 3rd grade teacher Mr. Rose, who was the first adult I heard talk about me in a really positive way. He was speaking to another teacher, commenting about some standarized test scores, and how well I had done. He was the first adult to tell me I was smart.

Second, Marv K. … my college creative writing professor. He taught me the difference between claiming to be a writer and really doing it. He taught me that procrastination is the writer’s worst enemy, and how to recognize my voice in my characters.

9 Krystal { 11.15.09 at 9:55 pm }

My mom! I was homeschooled from 8th grade on, and I LOVED IT!

10 Heather { 11.15.09 at 9:56 pm }

Wow, this one is tough. It was probably my senior English teacher. English was always one of my favorite classes, but she took it to a new level for me. She made it fun and exciting – I don’t think anyone ever complained about going to that class.

11 a { 11.15.09 at 10:06 pm }

Brother M. made me think the most and behave the best, but I have to go with my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. T. We knew far more than we should have about his personal life (not because he told us, but because he lived in a neighborhood with several students). He was no nonsense, witty, and kind. And he absolutely favored the girls…to my benefit. Also, he was in direct contrast to Sister Maggot (OK, Sister Margaret, but we did NOT like each other), who I would have had for chemistry if I hadn’t transferred schools.

12 nixy { 11.15.09 at 10:11 pm }

This question just makes me absolutely smile! I love it!

My favorite teacher was my sophomore year general bio prof. I probably learned the most information out of that class than any other in my four years. Actually, I didn’t really get to know him until I TA’d for it the next year. He and his wife never had kids, and they would get close with students through out the years. I became GREAT friends with both of them, and they even made the trip across the country for my wedding.

13 Calliope { 11.15.09 at 10:14 pm }

awesome question!
My 6th grade teacher Ms. B was a total turning point in my feminism. She totally lived a fabulous life of culture and was always introducing cool and random things to our class. She was the first teacher that I really felt LIKED teaching and she made everyone feel special and important. She was also the first teacher that ever let me call her by her first name when we were not in school. For some reason that was HUGE for me.

14 tbonegrl { 11.15.09 at 10:32 pm }

My favorite teacher was my elementary music teacher, Miss Mooney. She not only inspired me to be creative, to be silly, and to love music, she inspired me to become an elementary music teacher myself. I can remember a thousand special things she did for me in elementary school. When I was in college learning to be a teacher, it was her classroom I got to practice in. When I got my first teaching job, she had me over to her house and showed me how to take a violin apart and put it together again. She gave me lesson plans, and confidence. I am really lucky to call her a friend.

15 Lavender Luz { 11.15.09 at 11:54 pm }

I’m so glad for your female professor. She helped round you out, brought out both your yin and yang. You already had the yielding and now you also have the unyielding.

Mine? Mr Ginsberg in junior high science. He was just fun, very personable. I became his student assistant and I felt empowered with him. Also, Mr Hays, my econ professor. He was dry as the desert, but he set high expectations and convinced me I could meet them.

16 kate { 11.16.09 at 12:17 am }

My favorite teacher was my 6th grade Algebra teacher. I hated math and always thought I was terrible at it. He helped me to realize that math wasn’t all about speed drills and memorization. Math could actually be fun and for the first time in, well, my school career I got a grade higher than a C in math.

17 Kim { 11.16.09 at 12:26 am }

The best teacher I had was in 5th grade. He let us form different groups to study science, where each group had to learn about a topic in the field of study they had chosen (Dissection, Astronomy, Physics, Botany, Chemistry, etc.). At the end of a few weeks, we had to each give a presentation on the some aspect of what we had learned, thus teaching the rest of the class. We changed groups every month or so we were required to diversify.

I, of course, always aimed for the Dissection group. We learned about all the different organs, taught ourselves how to dissect, and then were the ones to run the dissection for the entire class. It. Was. Awesome.

18 Jeanette { 11.16.09 at 2:48 am }

Like many previous posters, I have two teachers that immediately spring to mind.
Firstly the wonderfully eccentric Mr Dickens, my high school art teacher. Oh how I loved him! He had such belief in me, that even to this day baffles me (lets say I have confidence issues). His lessons were fun, sometimes crazy, and he always gave up his time outside of lessons to help us work on projects. When i was looking into college places, he drove me around to colleges he thought would suit me, all in his own time, in his little blue beetle.
Secondly there is my needlework teacher. Mrs Geddes. A lovely gentile older teacher who never batted an eyelid at my unconventional dress and hair styles. She’d make cups of tea and scones for the lessons. She was married to a vet and used to spin the dog hair from the surgery into yarn.
I often wonder if either of these teachers had any idea how much they inspired me.I always think of them both fondly.

19 WiseGuy { 11.16.09 at 7:57 am }

Well, it would be Perin Daji teacher for me. Once in school, when we were being shown our English term copies, I discovered a totalling error, in which I had been given one mark extra.

I immediately went to her table and showed her that I actually had scored one mark lower than what was written. She turned pages and checked the score, and said that I deserved one mark more for my honesty. I can’t forget her smile, and somehow it got fitted in my brain, that there are people still around in this world, who have the ability to see the good in others, and who acknowledge it the best they can….

20 Heather { 11.16.09 at 12:13 pm }

My dad! He taught at our high school, and I dreaded having him. BUT, it turned out being awesome. I really did learn from him, and I saw him in a different light—he wasn’t just my dad anymore, he was Mr. Daddy. He loved the kids and brought out the best in them…and in me.

21 Minta { 11.16.09 at 12:59 pm }

I have been blessed to have several wonderful teachers over the years. Amazingly one is my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Jaxson, who let me stay at her house while my parents attended my uncle Tom’s funeral, and who found more challenging projects for me (and ultimately got me skipped a grade and transferred to a school with a gifted program) when she saw I had it too easy in her class.

The second teacher is my middle school social studies teacher Mr. Baylogg, who I still run into every now and then while shopping or (more often than not) sitting at the bar of our neighborhood Mexican restaurant. He was my first male teacher, and he was the first teacher I had that was cool, and smart, and taught personal responsibility. He had Nintendo championships during lunch for students holding higher than a 3.5 GPA, and a politics club after school. (And he let me sit next to the boy I was totally crushing on in the seventh grade!) For all the cool, though, I learned more about American Government and History in the two years I had him that in all of high school combined.

22 Anna { 11.16.09 at 1:38 pm }

The best teachers that I ever had were a married couple, one who taught Engligh and one who taught Sociology, Mr and Mrs Bateson. They taught me between 14-18 and they were both marvellous.

Mr B was a quiet man who taught me English Literature. He was quiet and sincere and thoughtful and I felt as if I really had to behave myself to earn his respect. He did a lovely thing for me – he let me read the character Hamlet when the class was reading ‘Hamlet’! It was one of the most glorious things I have ever experienced and I loved it all the more beause I was a girl without tremendous confidence who loved reading and Hamlet is a huge, dramatic, man’s role (ordinarily). He picked me to be Hamlet! I have never been on a sports team but the idea of being picked is something similar I guess. I loved every minute, I love the play, I loved the detailed discussions, the fantastic experience of discussing books and his quiet enthusiasm.

Mrs B made me work very hard and simply forced me to be ready for university. I had so much experience of writing, reading, discussion, mock exams and essays by the time I went that university seemed like a breeze. She was also one of the warmest and most funny people I have met.

I also have to mention Mr Hardy, he taught Chemistry and once said to me, when I was reflecting on how hard I would have to work to push up my Chemistry grade, ‘Don’t worry about this, think about what you will accomplish – people like you change the world’. Naturally I did worry, that’s me, but it was one of the most wonderful things anyone has said to me. I still plan to prove him right.

23 JuliaS { 11.16.09 at 1:57 pm }

Mrs. Caduff – my english teacher. She made me realize I was a better writer than I thought I was. I got an A in her class – but I worked for it and when I was got it, I knew I deserved it. However, she did motivated me in such a way that I never felt like she was hard on me or “driven”. She knew how to elicit the feeling of wanting to do your very best in such a subtle manner, that it is hard to describe exactly how it was she did it.

24 Melissa { 11.16.09 at 2:49 pm }

I’ve had several teachers in HS (English mostly) and then college (my professors rocked… especially my Calculus professor. She was awesome).

25 Alissa Collins { 11.16.09 at 6:19 pm }

Mine was my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Martin. He was a great teacher, really used our creative energy and treated us like we weren’t little kids… made me love learning!

26 Jendeis { 11.16.09 at 8:55 pm }

My senior year English teacher, Mrs. Gafford. She taught me how to write coherently, succinctly and with a plan. G-D bless her, I never would’ve gotten through college without her.

27 Carol { 11.17.09 at 6:21 pm }

ok, not the conventional Xgrade teacher answer – but I’m going with the answer that popped into my head first:

The best teacher I ever had was (and is) my mother. She’s a big part of the reason why I have fought so hard to become a mother – because all my life I wanted to be just like her. She taught me how to be strong, how to be sensitive, how to take care of myself and others. She is always, always proud of me. I’ve learned so much from her about how to be a mother, and I’m so proud that I’m now getting to put all that teaching to use.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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