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Answer This: Who Was Your Favorite Teacher and Why?

Liz Dwyer

What makes a teacher amazing? Education experts don't always agree on what specific qualities make an educator great, but when you've had an awesome one, you remember that teacher long after you've left her classroom.

To that end, our friends over at Lifehacker wondered, "Who was your favorite teacher and why?" Here's your chance to give that person a bit of public acknowledgement. The question applies "to non-traditional teachers as well," since "learning is the ultimate lifehack and should happen all the time." Tell us about your favorite teacher in the comments below.

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  • Emily Herrick

    Ms. Kimberly Warren- Middle School South, Lake Zurich Illinois. 6th and 7th grade English. I walked into her classroom as a timid 6th grader and was met by the most positive and understanding human being I have ever met. She accepted everyone and all taught us just what we needed to know, mostly things that were way beyond the curriculum. She inspired the scared little girl in me to believe in the impossible and to take risks. I owe her so much for who I have become today.

  • otto.khera

    Professor Pat O'Brien who taught economics at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in the 1980s up until '91. Turns out he's a university president a major institution - I just looked it up! (Go Prof. O'Brien!). What an inspiration. From multiple-choice at a big Arizona university -- ASU -- to a world of essay writing and actual graphical drawings. Suddenly under his instruction, I was required to know economics in a way that required thought. During class we talked about why an answer was right or wrong. And sometimes, like the old 'The Paper Chase' classic about Harvard Law, in his own way, Prof. O'Brien brought students to task and there were risks, rewards, and sometimes disappointments -- with amazing and much more humor than the Prof. Kingsfield character. How to confront life's disappointments as humans, within an academic setting is what he imparted as part of the curriculum.

  • Roseanne

    She was teaching an Int'l Community Development summer course at UC Davis. The first thing she did after our first class was to get a smaller room so that we could sit in a circle, facing each other. She emphasized that we each have our own unique perspectives and experiences to contribute, and always encouraged our voices. Curriculum-wise, it was a well-balanced mix of readings, discussion, writings, guest speakers, and projects that explored different approaches and perspectives.

    But what I most take away from her class was the encouragement to believe in and explore the alternative. I had many "but if they do this, then the system..." etc. Now I ask, "why not?" and "let's see how it can be possible."

    I truly appreciate her genuine interest in our learning and our perspectives, and the experimentation and exploration of curriculum. This was the very first class she ever taught.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    4th grade teacher Ms. Levy. She made learning fun by creating a store in which we invested our learning points to earn school supplies we needed. Most importantly, she made me believe in my abilities, even when I struggled in math.

  • John Wynn

    This is a no brainer for me..,Mr. Bean, my freshmen studies prof at The College of Wooster. He taught us to challenge every preconceived notion that we carried with us into his classroom. He taught us to think critically about everything. He made us read and read...and then we wrote and wrote...about anything that interested us and everything that was on our minds. There were no grades...just open honest discussions and his thoughtful guidance. Upon completion of the course, I looked at the world differently, armed with questions and embracing learning as a lifelong avocation...not for a grade...for the pure joy of expanding my mind. Thank you Mr. Bean....

  • Liz Dwyer

    My favorite teacher was Mr. Charles Stallworth. I had him my freshman year of high school for social studies and he was incredibly strict, but we also had so much fun in his class and worked on such cool projects. What really sticks out about him is that he was the only teacher I ever had who'd regularly come and eat lunch with us kids in the school cafeteria. He'd listen to all our drama, give us a side-eye when we were talking crazy, and get us talking about what was going on the world beyond our lives. He was also the only black male teacher I had in my entire K-12 school experience.