It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Who Inspired You To Teach?

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our educators here at Teton Science Schools this question: Who inspired you to become a teacher? These 22 responses offer little gems of teaching wisdom – and a whole lot of love. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Elle Shafer

My middle school advisor is my inspiration to be the educator I aspire to be. I still remember the day I met him–as a timid 6th grader at a new school I didn’t say much when I walked into class on my first day of school. He compassionately worked to find common ground, be himself, and offer someone to talk to should I need it. That relationship transformed from a middle school advisor-student relationship to, years later, a mentor relationship as my co-teacher at my first school. He is my lifelong teacher and everyday I am grateful for his impact on who I am as an educator and as a person.

Ben Rossetter

I am not sure who inspired me to become a teacher – that person is an amalgam of a number of different people, all whom were teachers, and all whom are among the most genuine and kind people I have met.  However, the teacher that I have evolved and grown into was inspired by Aaron Nydam – his thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and desire to constantly try to innovate and be better are what have led me to become the teacher that I am.

Reid Bauer

I was inspired to start teaching after babysitting for my two younger cousins for a year. I had never considered education as a career before, but that babysitting gig let me experience teaching kids. My aunt was my primary reference for my first teaching job.

Miles Yazzolino

My 7th grade science teacher brought science to life with innovative studying techniques, humor, and by doing backflips while holding katana’s around the classroom. If that doesn’t make you think being a teacher is dope, I don’t know what else will.

George Cartwright

Mi maestra de español, Sra. Spurlock!

Naomi Heindel 

My high school science teacher, Hans Manske, who was himself a field educator in Yosemite before becoming my high school science teacher, and thus taught in a way that connected science to place and to the natural world. And my high school Spanish teacher, Leah Mital, who opened my eyes, through language, to the social and cultural side of global and local issues.

Heidi Kohler

It is not a question of Who, but what in my case. As soon as I got involved with pARTners, I knew that I wanted to do this more seriously.

Leslie Cook

I was inspired to be a teacher by my mentor at Wolf Ridge, Joe Walewski.  He’s such an intentional, passionate and caring educator and naturalist that I was and am inspired to try to be like him!

Jackson Ray

The people who inspired me were the guides and staff from a safari I went in in Tanzania with a company I used to work for. Mzee Mangyani, and the other two were named Arnold and Henry, though I don’t know their last names off hand.

Drew Overholser

The seed was planted as I sat in the back row of a current events class in 9th grade. I distinctly remember thinking that I could do a much better job than the teacher in making the topic of discussion more engaging and relevant. Needless to say, I don’t recall what that topic was.

Kate Gessford

Most influential for me was my high school chemistry and physics teacher, Mr. Hohn. He was playful, adventurous, and kind to his very core. A man who inspired both love and learning in his students.

Zinnie Aepli

They are my parents who were both teachers.
They live their lives righteously. They taught to change lives!

Krista Hollis

A number of my math teachers, Ms. Bonenfant especially. Ms. Bonenfant was my math teacher for 8th and 10th grade, as well as my advisor during high school. I liked math a lot, and she helped keep me interested and confident in the subject. She was a guest at my friend’s wedding a few years back, and we were so excited to see her! Mr. Stolp was my math teacher in 11th grade, and I remember also enjoying the math modeling class he piloted with us, teaching math through projects and real-life applications.

I’d also say my parents; while they weren’t teachers, they were incredibly supportive of and interested in education.

Aaron Nydam

My high school principal pulled me aside one day and asked if I had considered becoming a teacher. I hadn’t. Since, I have always considered myself an aspiring educator.

Nick Koinis

Dr. Gerald Wright was the most influential professor I had in my undergraduate studies. He believed in me and challenged me to see education as an opportunity to invest in people with care and intention. He is still an inspiration for how I approach interactions with students and educators.

Nate McClennen

I’ve always wanted to inspire the next generation to contribute to and positively impact the world.

Katie Rose Griffith

The joy and transformation I witnessed during my time instructing with Northwest Outward Bound School inspired my love of nature based early childhood and expeditionary learning as a basic need for all children.

Josh Kleyman

Lots of people had a role in inspiring me to become a teacher. Perhaps most notably, my cohort of friends and learners in the 9th class of the TSS Graduate Program.

Joe Petrick

My parents and elementary teachers planted the seed of education and every student and educator I have the pleasure of interacting with makes me a better educator.

Hunter Jones

Carolyn Jacobs inspired me to teach during my AmeriCorps semester at Casper Mountain Science Program.

Peter Poutiatine

I was inspired by a series of mentors who evoked in me the self I wanted to be.  I had a NOLS instructor who helped create situations in which I could be a better me.  An English teacher in high school did the same.  Others.  It was people who saw something other than my rough edges who inspired me to become a teacher striving to do that for other people.

Paige Fisher

I was inspired to become an educator by a 3 year old boy at Shelburne Farms. During a summer camp a little boy joined our program who was extremely terrified of getting dirty and spent his first few days of camp hiding behind my legs. On the third day of camp while out in the forest looking for critters under logs a child found a red back salamander and the little boy was so intrigued and curious that he didn’t hesitate for a second to get dirt on his hands so he could hold that salamander. In that moment I felt the power and beauty of children spending time in nature and knew I had to be a part of this learning.

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