What do you think?

April 29, 2007

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

Last week's poll question was: Many people had a special teacher who helped guide them on a specific path. At what point in your education did you meet that teacher?

"There should have been a choice that said 'All Grades' as I had some great teachers at every school that I attended. There are many different means of motivation. I hope that some of the pundits that are always dominating these polls don't turn this into another ego booster."

"Unfortunately, the not-so-good teachers seemed to outweigh the great ones, but Chuck Zonis, a history teacher from North Hagerstown, was just about the best you could have asked for. I was a bit of a class clown and he used to allow me time before or after class to just get up in front of everyone and 'perform' or act a fool if you like. He once told me at the age of 14 that I was one of the funniest people he ever met and that one comment and his 'friendship' stayed with me throughout my life. Not only did he make history interesting to high school kids, he went the extra mile to make others feel special. Unfortunately, he passed away somewhat early in his life while still a teacher, but his impact left a positive impression on me and I'm sure many others to this day."


"At the time I posted on this poll, over half the respondents voted for 'never did,' which is simply a shame. Others I would like to mention besides Mr. Zonis were Mrs. Carmel and Mrs. Keller (elementary), Michael Shockey (principal at North High when I attended) and Mr. Peddicord (psych teacher also from North High). Thanks to all of them for their passion, dedication and willingness to go the extra mile."

"Two: (1) Mrs. Patrick, my fifth-grade teacher who encouraged me and believed in me. (2) The life example and teachings of Jesus Christ have revolutionized my life and given me an understanding of what it means to love, serve, sacrifice for others and live life to its fullest!"

"I, too, had one teacher at each grade level that really inspired me. Cassie Burtner, who was my fifth-grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary (way back when, I know). Deidre Novinger, who taught eighth-grade English at Boonsboro Middle and Steve Lemonakis, who taught AP English at Boonsboro High. Each teacher encouraged me to 'bring it' each day and helped me find the best in me. They taught me to not only be a great student, but a great person. Sometimes, the things they taught me, I didn't even realize they had taught me until after I got out of school. Thanks, guys!"

"I had several good teachers and a few bad ones. One that stands out was a no-nonsense nun from Pittsburgh. You did what you where told and it was expected of you to do your best. She was tough, but we each knew she loved us dearly. A hug before class if something bad happened and seeing her joy and a few tears when we achieved something extraordinary. She truly left no child behind. She knew I had it rough at home, (mom was a drunk) but never made me feel uncomfortable. A pat on the back followed 'yes you can and you will' attitude made me the man I am today. Sister Anne Rosalia was the best!!! and the reason I am a teacher today. I love you and will try to pass on your lessons you taught me on to others."

"I think the best teacher I ever had was not in any school system here. It was in the U.S. Army. I attended OCS at Fort Benning, Ga., and had what they call a training and counseling officer, or TAC officer. His name was Capt. Turnbow. He helped guide me through the leadership training which helped me go from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel."

"You would be amazed the influence our ROTC lieutenant colonel has on some of our kids (especially the ones that need some direction). It breaks my heart when they take those kind of programs out of schools. It is my opinion that most people leave the military better people then before they were in it. I have seen it many times with some of my students."

"Unfortunately, I went to high school in the early '60s, when we had 40-50 students in most of our classes. It was like going to college during our high school years. My graduation class had over 1,000 students! There was no way any teacher could give much attention to any one student. Those were the days!"

"This is the kind of poll that the paper should run. It is quite pleasant not to read any bickering for a change. I don't think that a teacher needs to dote on any one pupil. If they are a great teacher with an aura, it can have an everlasting effect on the way that you conduct your lifestyle."

"Believe it or not, some people met their special teacher in college and married that teacher. This is probably not the type of comment you expected, but this comment is completely accurate."

"Maybe I was lucky, or maybe my memory is worse than I'd admit, but most of my teachers from kindergarten through college are warmly remembered, I wish I had thanked them all."

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