Remembering a wonderful teacher

Canada
February 14, 2007 2:04pm CST
Most of us have had someone in our lives that we shall never forget. For me, it was my Grade 11 English teacher, Mrs. Conklin. Mrs. Conklin taught me a great deal about writing and thus I went on to pursue a career as a journalist and writer. For that, I am greatly indebted. However, there were many students in that class that did not like her at all. The main reason is that she looked very similar to the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Often the students would laugh and tell jokes about her in class, which really got me angry. I couldn't understand how they could be so cruel. I wrote a lot of essays in Mrs. Conklin's class and did very well. One particular essay was about my adopted mom, how she suffered so terribly with cancer and how it personally affected me as a teenager. After she read this class essay, she came to me and said that if I ever needed to talk about the situation, she was more than willing to listen. She was truly a wonderful and kind human being. The following year, I went back to her class to see how she was doing, but she wasn't there. I then went to the office to enquire about her and was told that she had passed away - from cancer. I was hearbroken, but I knew she was smiling down on me and I know I'll never forget her.
5 people like this
8 responses
@ElicBxn (60825)
• United States
4 Mar 07
I had a 3rd grade teacher I really liked, but who knows what has happened to her. My sister, on the other hand, had a really good relationship with her 5th grade teacher & is still in touch with her. In fact, when they were both living in the same city (a different one then they met, my sis taught her son swimming!)
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Mar 07
Interesting sychronicity, ElicBxn.
1 person likes this
@Lyrica (127)
• Canada
4 Mar 07
My favourite teacher was probably my grade 1 teacher. Back then, I didn't speak English and had a horrible time adjusting to school (mostly because I was painfully shy and dependent on my parents). She was very kind and took care of me as though I was her daughter. Even after I left her class, she looked into me every now and then and we kept in touch until I started university. Unfortunately, I haven't visited her in a while and I'm not sure if she's still teaching at my old elementary school, but I think once school is out, I'll drop by and say hello to her.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 07
Funny how synchronicities really work. My favorite teacher was my 9-12th grade English professor Dr. Lawrence Svec, who just last December lost the battle to cancer as well and passed away before we could see him again as the assistant vice principal at Lomond School. It is a great loss for he, also, encouraged my writing and taught me how to creatively express myself through words, prosed or poetically versed. Your piece was heartwarming even though sad.
@winterose (39921)
• Canada
17 Feb 07
I had a few teachers who passed on or moved on to a different school that I was very heartbroken over. As a child we tend to form deep attachments especially if we were neglected and or abused as a child. I find people just demean the role of a teacher and do not realize the impact they have on young lives.
• United States
2 Mar 07
My favorite teacher was in college. I didn't go to university until I was in my thirties. I wasn't sure I could handle it after being out of high school for fifteen years. His name was Paul Cahill. He had an eye patch. He was always encouraging me and treated me as more of an equal. He wasn't that much older than me actually. I disappointed him when I changed my focus from TV to film. He thought I should have stayed in TV. In retrospect, he might have been right. lol. I'll always remember his kindness and his belief in me. He moved to another state. I haven't had any contact with him for over twenty years. I hope he's well and encouraging all his students as much as he did me.
• Canada
4 Mar 07
Wow! That's so wonderful and I'm very happy for you. Most of us don't get a chance to do that.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Apr 07
I have my favorites, you are amoung the best . . http://www.globaltalkradio.com/ondemand/shows/whispers/2005Oct25/index.asx
• Canada
13 Apr 07
Awww... thanks, Ron!
@babyhar (1338)
• Canada
21 Mar 07
It sounds to me like you had a rather wonderful teacher! That's so kind how she had told you that if you ever needed to talk, how she would be willing to listen! That sounds like an incredible teacher if you ask me. It's sad that she had passed on.. It seems always the good people are taken away from us! I know I had a wonderful teacher when I was in Elementary. No other teacher compares to the teacher I had back then. He taught me both math, as well as music! He was one of the few teachers who had truly made an impact within my life.. I remember when I was younger I was rather over-weight. I always have had meat on me & have never ever been very thin. But when I was in school I seemed to be over-weight. A lot of the kids within my class would make fun of my weight.. Make fun of who I was as a person.. How I had dressed.. And would all around pick me last when it came to having me on there team.. I remember having so many self-esteem issues when I was younger because of this.. I remember also a few times when the kids would pick on me in class.. How he would always stick up for me. Or give them detention or do something to make me not feel so humiliated. I remember once when we we're waiting for him to enter the classroom to teach us our lessons.. And how the kids began to chant "Piggy" at me & I began crying.. The teacher ended up hearing this as he was walking down the hall to the classroom. And came in just furious. He flipped out & just started screaming at the other kids the minute he had seen me crying.. He actually became so furious that he made the kids stay after school for detention each day that week.. He then took me outside of class.. And sat down with me.. And told me how he understands how difficult it is to be in school.. And how sometimes when you are in school some people can be so cruel.. He told me how he was picked on as a kid.. And how he rose above these people in thee end.. He also told me that if I ever needed someone to talk to about anything that I could turn to him.. He gave me a hug & said if I had anymore problems I could come to him.. It truly ended up lifting my spirits & made me feel like if I ever needed to talk to someone.. I could turn to him whenever I was having problems.. It truly did comfort me in the end.. I also feel this teacher that I had was so wonderful was because.. I always stumbled at being any good at math.. Instead of this teacher giving up on me, like the rest had.. He would be willing to take time out of his schedule after school & would sit there with me until I learned the problem.. Or began to understand math in general.. I feel I passed math because of how he was willing to not give up on me.. But instead encourage me & help me understand math even if it took me a rather long period of time to do so.. In conclusion.. I feel this teacher of mine was so wonderful.. Because he truly cared about his students & there well-being. He wanted us all to make it in life.. And was willing to go the extra step to make sure that we would pass the classes he taught us with flying colors.. He also cared if any of the kids within his class we're being picked on.. Instead of just ignoring these things that we're going on within the class room like most teachers tend to do.. He was willing to stand up for people & punish the people who we're more than willing to knock down others based upon shallow comments, among other reasons they would pick on others.. I heard from someone I used to go to school with.. That he ended up getting in a car accident & almost passed on.. But he is fine now & instead is teaching college students.. I truly hope I cross paths with him someday.. So I am able to tell him how he had truly made an impact on my life.. How he had helped me when I was still learning to love myself.. I feel quite honestly that no other teacher I had along the way would or will ever measure up to how great this teacher was.. I never had such a caring teacher like this teacher in general.. I feel he truly is a beautiful person who cares about the well-being of others.. I don't find a lot of people like that these days.. I am just glad I came across one who taught me a lot when I was in school! . . Thanks for allowing me to share! xx
• Canada
21 Mar 07
Babyhar: It sounds like you had a real gem of a teacher. I know kids can be terribly cruel with each other, which is so unfortunate and can create life-long self-image and emotional issues. I'm so glad to hear that he was there for you in such a profound way. My granddaughter is 12 years old - a real beauty. But she is mentally delayed and kids at school make fun of her a lot. I hope she finds a teacher as kind and caring as the one you had.
• United States
11 Apr 07
Very touching story. There are a few people in my high school career that I know played a huge role in my succeeding in graduating. Many didn't like them for one reason or another. It is the soul of the person that speaks loudest, we need listen to hear them.