In honor of teachers everywhere-- Secondary Edition

In order according to appearance, here are my favorite Secondary teachers:

1. Pam Rector-- high school... cannot remember what grade now (9th maybe?)
She showed up everyday with a happy heart and a genuine smile in my first hour class. Everyday. First hour. I am not exaggerating. I thought she was the happiest woman on Earth. I knew that her happiness was sincere so I cherished the expression and appreciated it tremendously. Even one time I can clearly remember that she was having a bad day and she said (holding back tears) that she was going to be optimistic even in the face of adversity. I've never forgotten that day because her words literally infused me with hope. Her strength gave me strength and in that moment I knew that I too would choose optimism. Always. In addition to her contagiously awesome personality, she nourished my thirst for literature with remarkable reads like Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier and Hamlet. Her love for the stories compelled me to read and now that I think about her happy heart and brilliant smile, I realize that she was a tremendous influence on my classroom demeanor back in the day when I was a teacher.

2. Michelle Shepard-- high school Marketing teacher and DECA sponsor
Affectionately called "Mama Shep," she was (and probably still is) equal parts Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel ...and Pit Bull. I mean that in a good way. Really. Golden Retriever: she thoroughly enjoyed life, loved to laugh and have fun. Cocker Spaniel: she was (and still is) the reason the phrase cute as a button was coined. Pit Bull: she had no problem letting you know who was running the show should you experience a momentary lapse of sanity.  In her classroom, we worked hard, played hard and were essentially a family. She was always tough but loving, honest and sincere. The love was truly palpable. I took my first plane ride across the country with her and enjoyed DECA competitions at the regional and national level. We cleaned up with awards too, which had much to do with the whole working hard mantra. At an early age, I learned the art, psychology and purpose of marketing. I still believe that I can sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady wearing white gloves because of the marketing expertise I was so fortunate to receive. And even though I don't sell a thing as far as a professional career is concerned, I cannot emphasize how those years of Marketing have made me a savvy consumer with Jedi-like critical thinking skills.  I owe it all to Mama Shep.

3. Bumper Reese-- high school
I honestly do not remember the name of the class though I am pretty sure it was an elective. I do however remember his wonderful stories and life lessons that he taught us. He was a cool teacher who wasn't afraid to buck the system. He never gave us busy work. We had to complete our assignments, take our test and then we could do whatever we wanted to (within reason, of course) at our desk. This was a mid-day class for me and it was nice to have some time to talk and laugh with friends, get an assignment done for a later class or start on my homework. His attitude was get your work done first and foremost, then play. He was a football coach with loads of real life wisdom that he shared often. He was rather muscular and handsome so all of us girls were goo-goo eyed over him. He never let it go to his head and really didn't seem to care because he was head over heels in love with his wife. I can still remember his expressions whenever he spoke about her. It was obvious that he adored her, which of course made us girls all the more goo-goo eyed, but like I said, he didn't care.  Just the thought of his faithful devotion still makes me smile. I also remember when he had a child and it was very cool to see a different kind of twinkle in his eye all of a sudden.

4. Trice Butler-- college professor
She was like a mom away from home + a loving teacher who pushed me to always do my absolute best. I admired her strength, wealth of knowledge and honesty. Still do. She was also my Academic Advisor so she counseled me through many pivotal college and career decisions. I didn't always listen to her sage advice, but she loved me anyway and even though she always turned out to be right, she never rubbed it in my face. I still keep in touch with her and always will.

5. Kay Meyers-- college professor
Hilarious tell it like it is professor who modeled, welcomed and encouraged innovative thinking.  I thrived in her classroom.  Another mom away from home who nurtured me mentally and emotionally. She always used real life application in addition to the course material during lecture and discussion. I truly appreciated the lively debate and discussion that took place within her classroom because it taught me the art of conversation.

Honorable Mentions:

Linda Gray-- college professor/English Gangsta
Old English, conjugation, etymology, passage analysis, history of the English language, copywriting, technical writing, anything to do with writing... She taught me how to do it all. She is the Godfather mother of the English language, which makes me the Goddaughter, I guess ;D

Garnell Riddle & Ayn Grubb-- these ladies were my dynamic duo regarding student teaching and real classroom application. I seriously gained (at the very least) a decade of teaching experience sitting under these two. From seeing Harry Wong's book, First Days of School played out in real time to running a classroom with high academic standards where true learning takes place, these two seasoned veterans showed me how to walk the ropes and then gave me wings. These ladies are/were Master Teachers who were passionate, knowledgeable and relevant.  I cherish the time that I spent with them and now I realize it is one thing to study under a Master and another to have a Master willingly pour into your life while you study. They were both Master Teachers who willingly poured into me. I am grateful for the lessons, the laughter and the enduring love.

These awesome educators positively impacted my life.  
You can check out In honor of teachers everywhere-- Primary Edition here.

Who are your favorite teachers?

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