I recently wrote about my high school experience over at Classmates.com:
I had so much bad stuff going on in my life, I came to school to get away from the drama at home. I really didn’t care to do the work (something I regret now). School was more of a social hour for me than anything else. But there were a few teachers that stood out for me. It took me 4 years to pass 10th and 11th grade English (if you count summer school as a year). One class I didn’t fail was Mrs. Stumpf’s 11th grade English. She saw through my troubled exterior and gave me the tools to become the writer/blogger that I am today. In my teen years I searched for an outlet to express myself and be creative. She gave me the tools to find it, and I’ll be forever grateful to her for that gift.
Mr. Wright was another teacher that inspired me. It wasn’t so much how he taught or what he taught, but how he treated others. He taught through all the bullshit that was going in my life and inspired me enough to fall in love with American history and politics. He was strict in the classroom, but he was totally fair. I saw him recently and he hasn’t changed much at all. I’m sure he still talks about Cool Hand Luke and adores Ronald Reagan.
I have to include Mr Hawkins as inspiration. It wasn’t on a positive note that he inspired me. He was kind of a nasty person. But one day I was looking for my girlfriend (Suzy Adamo) and I overheard Mr. Hawkins and another teacher comment about me. In reference to me he said, “oh, he’ll never amount to anything.” That and the fact that Suzy’s parents thought I’d never “become anything”, drove me in my twenties to do all the things I did that made me successful. They both filled me with the fear of being a failure in life. I also wanted, in the back of my mind, to prove them wrong. Those words and thoughts hurt me at the time, but I’m grateful for them now.
These three teachers were the most significant to me because they all had one thing in common… impact. They cut through all my problems and spoke to my heart and inspired me to do and be a better human being. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.