On the radio recently, the djs asked a question about teachers and how they impact the lives of their students. I was very, very blessed in my voyage through school. From kindergarten through high school I had teachers who were incredibly talented and actually interested in the success of their students. My sixth grade teacher, Mrs Young was just a joy. She always had a smile on her face, and laughed frequently. Seventh grade and eighth grade I was taught by a husband and wife team… Mr. and Mrs. Nelson; Mr. Nelson for math and Mrs Nelson for English. (“Math is fun, Math ain’t funny”) They made it their mission to expand the horizons of their students over and above the requirements of their lesson plans, especially when it came to the arts. We frequently listened to musicals in class. We heard Guys and Dolls, Phantom of the Opera and Cats. And I fell in love with them all. The Nelsons took a personal interest in me, too. They actually took me to San Francisco to see Phantom of the Opera at the Curran Theater. Those years I was also involved in an advanced math program with some of my closest friends and a college prep course at a local state school.
In high school, I had an Honors English class where our teacher encouraged us to look beyond the little world of high school. We were required to watch 60 Minutes every Sunday and report on worldwide news stories. Watching stories from Rwanda, New York and China reminded us that the world was much bigger than our cliques, our classrooms and our own lives. I had a piano teacher who pushed us to excel, who worked to show us the sophisticated side of life and who took the time to get personally involved when I went out on a limb for a dream. I had a math teacher who was amazing; smart, funny, multi-talented (he also took over the yearbook) and very popular. Some of my best memories come from the hours I spent in Trigonometry… That’s sort of sick, isn’t it? J