My Favorite Teacher

So this week’s question for #youredustory was:

How are you, or is your approach, different than your favorite teacher?

I struggled with this question all week. I came to the conclusion that I took the good qualities from her, and must have forgotten the not so great stuff.

Ms. Cotnoir came from New York City. We were a bunch of lily white, catholic school kids – 8th graders – in the middle of suburbia (just outside of Detroit). I was in awe of her. She posed questions to us that made me think (about abortion no less). She related to us on a human level. She wanted to get to know us. Those are the things that I remember about her. I don’t remember her being an especially inspiring to me in math or religion class (this is what I remember her teaching).

I recall one night a few friends went to the mall with her. I don’t remember exactly what we did, but I remember that we weren’t looked down upon. We were treated fairly. And she hated the local music stations. We argued that our favorite station played the top 10 ‘Pop Hits’ every hour. Looking back, I can see how she was less than impressed with our musical choices. She was more of a punk rock listening kind of teacher.

The memories and the stories could go on, but I won’t bore you all. So rather than discuss all the ways in which I differ from Ms. Cotnoir, I’d like thank her for: making me think, broadening my horizons, treating us like people, listening to us, taking a real interest in our lives, and being really cool! I’d like to think I am a bit like this with my students; because of her.

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