Story Weekend: Favorite Teacher

I am so grateful for air conditioning! 100+ in North Carolina today and no end in sight. I hope you’re all finding a way to stay cool and comfortable. We’re heading for Topsail Island, where I’ll be cooped up inside all week writing, but I’ll have a great view!

So, school is out for the summer most places, but the people who influenced us the most are part of lives no matter the time of year. If it hadn’t been for Mrs. Westphahl, my history teacher my junior year of high school, I don’t know if I would ever have discovered the thrill of research or mastered the intricacies of organizing my writing. I still use the outlining methods she taught us all those years ago. Plus, she told us never to sit on the fence on a political topic, and I don’t. Just ask my friends!

So, who was your favorite teacher?


  1. Jayna Lalli on June 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    My favorite teacher was my 4th teacher, Mrs. Fullerton. She was both strict and loving. We worked so hard and gave 100% all the time while she made us laugh and rewarded us with praise and appreciation for our efforts. From 10 years old, I knew that being just like Mrs. Fullerton was in my future. She was the reason I became a teacher. Imagine my delight when I was hired as a kindergarten teacher (and now a 6th grade teacher) in the same district as Mrs. Fullerton. We were colleagues!!! She retired a few years later after 41 years of teaching. If I am half as strict and loving as Mrs. Fullerton, I think I’d be doing a terrific job.

  2. Laurie on June 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I will always Thank, my HS chemistry teacher, Miss Golonka.
    She was always grilling us on chemical symbols, the metric system, etc.
    This ‘torture” made it so much easier thru Anatomy,chemistry and nursing courses in college and use it today.
    When she knew I wanted to be a nurse, she arranged for me to see an autopsy at one of the area hospitals. I guess you could say a “make or break” you thing. “don’t faint” were her words as I walked in. OMG!! I still remember it!
    I still keep in touch with her and always Thank her for her enthusiasm and for being in my life!

    Stay cool everyone and have a nice weekend. NJ is not quite as hot as some areas. Only 95 today. Enjoy topsail, Diane.

  3. Diane Chamberlain on June 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Jayna, you couldn’t have given Mrs Fullerton a greater gift than to follow in her footsteps. And Laurie, I think Miss Golonka loved having you as a student as much as you loved having her as a teacher. She must have been so excited to have a student who actually cared about chemical symbols. And the autopsy. . .OMG is right!

  4. Barbara Walls on June 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Warm, loving, grey haired, 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Lincoln knew exactly what I needed. My mother had died during the previous summer and I was very needy for that warmth and love. Unfortunately for Mrs. Lincoln my way to “request” that attention was to misbehave. Never before had I misbehaved in school but that year I had to sit in the first row, stood out in the hall a lot and visited the principal but the best for me was to have to stay after school! I loved staying after school with Mrs. Lincoln. It was heaven being all alone with her, washing the blackboards and postponing my VERY empty home. Of course it was years before I realized what was really going on that year but she was there for me with her warmth and love. She was JUST what I needed that year. I never remember being in trouble in school after that year. Mrs. Lincoln got it all! (My first teaching job was as a 3rd grade teacher.)

  5. Sheree Gillcrist on June 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

    In high school I was an over achiever, Nothing less than an A was ever good enough for me but Math was the wall I simply could not climb. Enter Autumn Brownell , one of only two civilian teachers in my all girls convent school. At home by dad ws slowly dying and I had no control over that slow drip of life ebbing away but at scool I was the boss. Math taunted me and I could not process a simple equation without breaking out into a sweat and worrying what it would do to my grade point average.(ah the things we think are important). Mrs. Brownell was a young long haired brunnette who wore all the colours of my favourite season and did homage to her name. She truly believed that each of us were not just another brick in the wall of life and had the good grace to see past my purple flower painted on my cheek, my long granny dresses and men’s biker boots. She saw me and she tutoured me for 4 lessons and the light dawned and I got my A and my dignity back. When I graduated She gave Me a gift. It was a little book called I wish you Bluebirds.’ Bluebirds of Happiness, Bluebirds of Light.’ and through apartments . marriages,divorces and moving houses and countries I still have it with me as a reminder that when I needed to count for something. Mrs Brownell had my number.

  6. Martha O'Quinn on June 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I grew up in a small town. All twelve grades were housed in the same building. Grades 1-7 were on the first floor, 8-12 on the second. I graduated in 1957, the school from which my mother graduated in 1929 (11 grades then). My eighth grade teacher, Miss Martha Miller, a gentle, white haired spinster, had expectations of her class and no one ever thought to deliberately dissapoint her. Each year she had a winter dress and a summer dress, worn five days a week, washed over the weekend and worn the next week throughout its season. Yet when she came to PTA meetings or you saw her at church, she was dressed to the nines. She used her own money to quietly and privately provide for less fortunate students in the class, be it food, toiletries, clothing or lessons in hygiene. We didn’t know what bullying was and her quiet, gentle spirit remains with me today. I have strived to live up to her name.

  7. Margo on July 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    You encouraged me and helped enhance my painting with your great sense of teaching and I not only learned the basics of art, but so much more of life in general…you nurtured my ‘free spirit’ and is it any wonder I spent my lunch hours ‘hanging out’ with you in the art room? We talked about everything and you guided me from High School towards college. I was so fortunate to find you after all these years…there you were having dinner with my mother in the dining room where she lives, and now which you call home. I got to tell you ‘Mrs. Hine, you were my favorite teacher’, but I quess you already knew that.

  8. Diane Chamberlain on July 2, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Barb and Sheree, I’m so glad you had the perfect teachers for one of the most difficult times of your life. Martha, Miss Miller sounds like a quiet hero. And Margo, that’s so wonderful that you got to ‘meet’ your teacher again!

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