Teachers: A Special Part of Growing Up

Hannah VandenHeuvel, Staff Writer, Journalism I

One of the biggest shocks for me when I entered high school was how students talked about teachers. Teachers’ nicknames or last names without a prefix fluttered about the hallways and lunch room. Not only was the prefix drop a shock itself, but many were dropped in negative context. I was bothered by my peers’ complaints and gossip about the teachers. It made me conscious of how I was being judged. But as quick as something negative done by a teacher spread through the school, so did word about a cool story, “roast sessions” and special treats for class. With that being said, over the years it has been easy for me to compose an ideal teacher.

My ideal teacher is inspired and comprised of the characteristics of teachers that I have had and appreciated during my time at NDA. Much of what I’ve appreciated are key traits that shaped their reputations. For example, Mrs. Brown’s laugh fills the priory hall, and word of her brownies can get out fast. Her compassion and enthusiasm for the student body inspires me to be more involved. Mr. Grey’s love for thinking pushes me past the boundaries I have set for myself. And Madame Geyer is a mother figure to many at school. She is accepting, forgiving and always willing to talk through issues. Mrs. Thillman’s critical editing skills are extremely helpful before submitting important documents. The Giesers’ wit keeps classes interesting. Frau shows major dedication to serving the student body by putting in many hours away from home, being innovative and trying out new ideas. Mrs. Hollenback has challenged students through generations by teaching her extensive knowledge in science classes. Mrs. Robbins lightens the classroom with creativity and crafts, and Mrs. Gilson fills the school with her bubbliness.

Overall, my “dream teacher” would be one that teaches life lessons by being open with students, is trustworthy enough to make students feel comfortable to come to her or him for help, radiates joy, wise beyond years, and always open to change. Teachers that see my high school education in the big picture are important to me because 1) it shows me they have reflected back on their own experiences in life, 2) it tells me they truly realize the loads of stress we have and 3) it invokes a raw desire to discover and learn in their class.

But, I do think that experiencing different teaching styles and expectations through the years prepares students to thrive in different environments and learn to have a variety of communication skills. I truly believe the variety of teachers at Notre Dame has been a blessing and important part of my life by not only shaping my education but also my character. By their willingness to share their life experiences, their motivation to push through difficult circumstances and their zeal to go above and beyond mere classroom expectations, teachers have made NDA a special part of my growing up.