Think about teachers who have made an impact on your life. Who would you choose? For me, many teachers have made impacts on me, both positively and negatively. Being that my 20th high school reunion is just around the corner, I decided to focus on high school teachers. I would say that the teachers who made the greatest positive impact on me in high school were Joyce Mong, Ron Grimstad, and Georgia Kinkade.
Mrs. Mong was my journalism advisor and English teacher. I loved journalism and was the editor-in-chief of the school paper for both my junior and senior years. I appreciated Mrs. Mong because she believed in me. She encouraged me to do my best, and gave me the tools to achieve great things. She nominated me for a national journalism conference in Washington, D.C., where I was able to go and learn from active journalists in the nation’s capital. I was also able to go onto the floor of the House of Representatives for a lecture by a congressman.
Despite my shortcomings, frustrations, and obsessive need for perfection, she supported me and allowed me to flourish. She encouraged me in my writing and provided much needed support when things in the newsroom would go awry. I am forever grateful for the mark she made on my life.
Another teacher I had in high school was Ron Grimstad. Mr. Grimstad was the athletic director and my math teacher. He recommended me for my first job working for the district athletic department and was a straight-shooting caring teacher. He trusted his students, and put the responsibility of learning on us. He also had posters up in his room from former students. One of the posters was “The Creosote Principle.”
The Creosote Principle came from a time when he had a student working for him doing fence work who didn’t want to use gloves when working with creosote. That didn’t end well, and Mr. Grimstad used that story to remind us that he would never lie to us. He was an honorable man who truly made math enjoyable. I enjoyed working with him and appreciated the trust he put in me.
I was also encouraged by my business teacher, Georgia Kinkade. Mrs. Kinkade was the department head for the Business Department, and was another example of an adult who put trust in me and my abilities. She allowed me to work with her on computer networking tasks, even giving me the System Administrator password. She continually saw the best in me and encouraged me to do my best and work hard to reach my goals. I am grateful for her guidance and care.
Looking back at these three teachers, I’m seeing a pattern in them. A great teacher in my mind is one who encourages students to achieve their best and cares for his/her students. All three of these teachers did that. In addition to those qualities, each of these teachers went above and beyond in their own way to allow me to explore and hone my abilities in each of their respective departments.
I learned much about managing people, writing, computer networks, and working in many aspects of sports administration. I am forever grateful for these teachers for impacting my life for the better. I pray that my children will also have teachers in their lives who will allow them to grow and flourish in the same ways that I was blessed to have Mrs. Mong, Mr. Grimstad, and Mrs. Kinkade in my life. All three of these teachers have retired now, but they can be assured that their impact is still being felt 20 years later.