16 July 2012

teaching ME

I've asked some friends- who was the teacher that made you tick?
you know- the teacher that got you started on what It is you do.

In reminiscences about my own teachers it is difficult to pin down just one.

One evening I answered a call from my hometown newspaper-they had questions about teachers.

"Who had the greatest influence on you as a teacher?"

After a quick inventory of my elementary school-junior high (was anyone ever influenced by a teacher at that stage). I settled on my high school history teacher, Miss (MS.) Elliott.

"I would have to say Mary Alice Elliott!"

silence on the phone
a pause
"Would you not say Mrs. Wright?"

"Well of course She was such a great influence-so much beyond a teacher.
 She is still a mentor-friend. I hardly think of her as a teacher!"

with a singular laugh-deep-ironic
Oh, Yes of course. 
Good answer Gaye!

It was la Wright, Frances Herself. 
She got me. 
We laughed. 
that laugh became more raucous- but within it-that slightly gravel-y smooth Southern drawl that defined her.

Frances & Me, c.1993.

so Teachers-
I started thinking about these two women -How could they have been such influences on me-yet be so different?
Upon reflection words like-- Independent, Dynamic, Passionate apply to both. Ms. Elliott- a crack history teacher, while Frances-Mrs. Wright-filled her life with Music. I never saw the parallels and I can't help feel they prepared me for more than just my crazy love of history and of the arts. I grew up in a very traditional Southern town, but women with Independent lives surrounded me. These two- and of course my Grand Mother.

they deserve my praise-
my best- and their own special telling.

to be continued.

This week it is a pleasure to open my pages to the friends I posed this question to.



  1. You really got me thinking with this post!! Being educated in a strict convent school.....I guess they all inspired me to get out and fly and not be stuck (as they appeared to be). It worked! Thanks. Mary

    1. Mary, I've heard similar before from a friend that went to convent school. A couple of the shared stories this week do reflect teachers that had an opposite-but net positive effect on a student. I feel lucky to have had good teachers-from a variety of walks of life. PGT

  2. Good Morning Gaye

    This is a subject dear to my heart and to your many readers. Misses Wright and Elliott though different met different needs.
    I have two memorable teachers from my early years, Miss Farrell and Mrs Logan. The Miss Garrick in later years.

    I look forward to reading more about your two mentors

    Helen xx

    1. thank you Helen, This is true- I was lucky to have had these two very strong women teaching me. Mrs. Wright started teaching me when I was in the 4th grade and until her death in 2010 continued to be a friend and influence. pgt

  3. Looking back, I was blessed with many wonderful teachers. Some were the way you describe Ms. Elliott and Mrs. Wright, but I also remember the meek Mrs. Melik and the easy-going Mr. Carle, among others.

    They all loved their subjects and wanted their students to respond in the same way, and so were able to transmit their enthusiasm.
    --Road to Parnassus

    1. P. I agree-I was lucky too, I hear some horror stories about teachers-even with the stresses I can not imagine a teacher mistreating a child intentionally.I had some delightful-as you say easy going teachers-but yes-very good at getting their subjects across. thank you for contributing to the discussion. pgt

  4. I can't imagine having a more special legacy than being an inspirational, and long lasting positive influence to a young life...could there be anything more rewarding?!

    Love this series Gaye...it's wonderful to hear about those who shaped the hearts and minds of such fascinating and interesting people (such as yourself!)...so fun to read!
    xo J~

  5. Interesting series, thank you!



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