How many of you have a bad teacher story?
Teaching is a sacred profession. But like any profession, there are bound to be some serious duds. Aside from the near universality of it, what most strikes me about this phenomenon is how the memory of a bad teacher is painfully seared into memory, even when some of the particulars - often decades old - are a little fuzzy. Want to try this out? Just ask someone the name of a bad teacher they've had and listen for how quickly the name is spit from that someone's mouth. As they tell their story, listen to the pain in that same someone's voice.
I'm sure many could also easily recall the name of an inspirational or exceptional teacher. And this is understandable either way given the number of hours we spend with teachers, especially in grammar school. But each time I hear a bad teacher story, or think of my own sadistic third grade teacher Mrs. Betz, I'm newly struck by the huge influence teachers exert, for worse or better. I'm also reminded anew of my own responsibility as a teacher, for better and then better than that.