Saw a great blog post on Harper Academic from one of their employees about what class changed her life. It got me thinking about a class from a *long* time ago and something I did recently.
I wonder how many teachers actually hear about the impact that they have had on a student’s life. I mean, being raised by a teacher, I’ve heard repeatedly about what a tough and thankless job it can be. How many of us actually can 1. point to a class that changed everything for them and 2. get a chance to tell that teacher how much he or she has inspired them?
For me, the class that changed my life was 11th grade American History. To which I can give all the credit to the teacher, Mr. Albert Fields.
Mr. Fields was a historian, for sure, but he was also a story teller. He truly made the past come to life. He showed how history was never black and white, but always something that had to be viewed in shades of grey. He taught us to not take anything at face value, and to think, to analyze and scrutinize before you came to a conclusion. When the final exam asked questions like, “How did the election of Ronald Regan hark back to themes raised by the first Continental Congress” and you were not able to just answer that, but understand what he was getting it and take that recent event back to 1786, well now, that was something.
When I was floating aimlessly in college, lost both metaphorically and physically, I decided to go back to my roots and switch my major to History. The foundation that Mr. Fields gave me back in High School ended up shaping my college career. It’s still a part of me today. Thinking like a historian gives you a unique perspective into any situation, coming in handy in my personal and work life.
Recently, a friend let me know that she had Mr. Fields’ email address. Without hesitation, I wrote him a letter about how he and his class had shaped who I am today, and thanked him profusely. He was most gracious to receive such a note, and it gave me great pleasure to be able to tell him how much he and his class meant to me.
Do you have a teacher or a class that had such an impact on you? And if you haven’t already, what would you say to your teacher if you had the chance?