May 3 marks the start of Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers make an indelible impact on the lives of their students, both in the classroom and far beyond its walls. Teachers are true heroes, but never more so than over this past year with educators working around the clock to move teaching online or to a hybrid format while continuing to support their students.
At McCrea’s Candies, we all have a love of learning, fostered early by influential instructors. So, leading up to the big occasion, we asked the McCrea’s Candies team: Who was your favorite teacher, growing up? What made that person so memorable and unforgettable?
My favorite teacher was Mr. Sylvester, my freshman year History teacher. He was the first of a few high school history teachers that really inspired me, and he helped me see and understand the connection of how things in the past shaped the way our world is today. He did a good job at making it relevant and genuinely fun to be in class. I remember doing a unit on exploration and for a project we had to map/measure the best way to get from points A to B within the high school grounds. In groups, we used a surveyor’s wheel to measure, were running all over the school, and had other classes wondering what we were doing that was so entertaining. It was the combination of making things engaging and interesting that you couldn’t help but learn and retain the material…. He was able to create a seamless learning experience.
My favorite teacher, Ms. Anna, was so friendly and understanding. She cared about her students and was always looking out for me. She was in constant contact with my parents and as a team, they looked after my education.
~ Ludmilla / Packing
This is definitely difficult as I had many teachers I liked. I’ll go with Miss Menard, 5th grade. She inspired me to do well. I practiced my writing and my writing became much more legible. I excelled in everything because I wanted to please her, so it set me up well for Middle School. I was better prepared, and 5th grade started me on my path toward academic success. She acted like I was a star student, so I reacted by being one. I now wonder if she treated everyone like that!
My favorite teacher was Mr. Groff, who I had for both 3rd and 4th grade. I liked him because he encouraged plenty of reading (my favorite thing) and taught us how to write stories. Under his guidance I wrote many original stories and was selected to attend a Young Author's Conference at a local college two years in a row. I got to meet and listen to published authors talk about their own stories and take little writing workshops. All very exciting and grown-up for a nine-year old kid! Mr. Groff was the kind of teacher that helped you to believe in yourself and his encouragement stuck with me as I moved to a new city and school for 5th grade. I think his biggest impact was teaching me that I could believe in myself and accomplish more than I realized.
I had my favorite teacher twice, first in the 5th grade and then again in the 7th. She was a nun in the order of the Sisters of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The word on her was that she was very strict and mean. I didn’t think she was either of those, but she was unquestionably clear, unfailingly fair and applied her rules evenly without favoritism. She was completely without wishy-washy. She was after results for each student. Her commitment to teaching was unquestionable. Clarity of purpose her primary technique. She inspired joy in structure.
Christopher Harris and Olivia Patton were a teaching pair in my Montessori classroom that brought so much love and passion for learning to their students that several of us are still in touch with them 40 years later. They cared about us in a way that, I’ve come to find out, was extraordinary. At the time we students thought it was normal; it was just school. I remember coveting the spot next to Miss. Patten at circle time, rushing to finish whatever I had to do just so I could sit next to her. And Mr. Harris used to clap his hands together and say, “just wait till you see what comes next!” (meaning the next math lesson) like he was telling us a fascinating story. The result was a skittering of children off to work through the lesson so we could “see what came next.” I treasure the memories of that classroom and the time I had with these two exceptional human beings
~ Kate/Executive Team
Mrs. Smith is the teacher that immediately comes to mind. She encouraged my love of reading, turning it into a true passion by introducing me to the “Little House on the Prairie" books. The first one I read was later in the series, but I still remember the excitement that ran through me when I realized it was a true story. I quickly finished that one and then consumed the remaining books (in order) in about two days. I still love finding a great series of books to this day.
My favorite teacher was my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. James Healey (no relation to my husband!). Whenever someone would enter the classroom, even if it was the principal, he would be teaching and would suddenly say “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and we would all throw wadded up balls of paper at whoever had entered. In his faculty yearbook photo, he is sticking his tongue out. He had the perfect blend of academics and humor and made learning Shakespeare fun!
I have three: 6th Grade Science: Mr. Ellingson. I eventually had a relaxed and easy connection with him and once, when I was habitually late for school one morning, instead of getting pissed-off, he had me join him in the hall for a discreet chat and asked if I was alright. I was so scared but when he asked me so simply, I cried. (Yes, I was fine, no drama, other than my own inability to get my shit together in the morning.) He taught kindness and understanding, and that exchange never left me.
7th Grade English: Mr. Micus. He used to have me stay after class and discuss whatever we were working on, kind of an impromptu casual testing protocol, I had no idea until much later. I did crappy on his quizzes and tests but passed his classes anyway because he knew how to reach into my thick scull. He also “made” me join the speech club after catching me tying knots in Cheryl Pizel’s hair during class. He taught me how to find my voice.
11th Grade Chemistry: Mr. Podolske. He had a way of engaging students in an interesting way, how chemistry is everywhere and all around us daily, and was very patient with squirrely teenagers. He made an example of me in front of class when I aced the unknown test at the end of the year—hyping the rare perfect score that happened and telling us how some students take a while to shine, and if you watch carefully you can see things others miss. He noticed one particular student being scrupulously clean with glassware and careful with measuring reagents, and how some who knew better were making mistakes. Then he mentioned my name and I nearly cried. He taught patience and determination and attention to detail more than speed can win the day.
~ Jason/Executive Team