Teacher Appreciation Day

I was just trying to come up with a good topic to write about, when lo and behold, I see all these lovely teacher appreciation posts on Facebook. It’s a topic I haven’t really written that much about, which means it’s a perfect topic for me to write about today. I present to you, with no further ado, a list of some (and only some) of the teachers who have had the most impact on me and my life. Presented chronologically.

First off, you have Mr. Kosmo. A teacher whose name lives in infamy in my memory, but who nonetheless was very impactful. Why? Because in eighth grade, he was my English teacher. I was new in the school district, and they had refused to let me register for honors English, because their English classes were so demanding or something something. So I was in Mr. Kosmo’s class. It was . . . less than good. But I got through it. At the end of the year, I went to him for a recommendation so I could go to Honors the next year. He refused. His reason? “You can’t write well enough.” Yeah. Would I have devoted so much of my life to writing if Mr. Kosmo hadn’t told me I was bad at it? I’m not sure. I’m a very competitive person, and this was the first time a teacher had ever told me I was bad at something and that I should just give up. So naturally I did my best to prove him wrong. (Sadly, methinks that wasn’t quite the response Mr. Kosmo was going for when he tried to tell me I should just not try so hard in life . . . But hey! He made it onto this list, so . . . win?)

Mr. Lineberry was my high school music teacher, and he definitely was a huge positive influence in my life. Symphonic band, marching band, Dixie band, regular band . . . I was in that band room a ton for those three years, and he was always there with a cheerful smile and positive attitude. There’s a lot of tumult in high school, and his room was a place you could go to have some stability. Music was always a significant part of my life, but it because a huge part of my life in no small part due to him and his example. (Though I should give a shoutout to Mr. Bogle and Mr. Z, who both also contributed significantly to that. And Mr. Maiello in fifth grade also did wonders for me.)

Louise Plummer taught Writing for Children and Young Adults in college, and it was in her class that I decided I really wanted to commit to the whole “writing thing.” She was tremendously supportive and encouraging and patient. Her classes were always fun and engaging, and it was through her encouragement that I began to think that not only did I want to commit to writing, but that I might one day be successful at it. (Mr. Kosmo, please take note.) I ended up taking . . . four other classes from her? Three? Multiple.

Lanell Rabner was not a teacher of mine per se, but she was my first library supervisor in college. She ran the periodicals department at BYU, and because of her enthusiasm for the work, I began to take interest in working in libraries. It was infectious. I probably wouldn’t be in my current career if it hadn’t been for her, so I say she definitely counts!

Dennis Cutchins wins the award for most classes in college for me, though. I first took Film Adaptation from him my . . . sophomore year, I believe. It was on “Adapting the Western,” and it was such a blast from start to finish. So much of college (for me) consisted of finding the professors who I really connected with and then taking every single class I could possibly take from them. (Glade Hunsaker was another (Shakespeare and Milton!), as was Dallin Oaks, whose passion for linguistics was enough to get me to add it as a second major.) But Cutchins went on to teach me throughout college and my masters program. He was my thesis chair. We went on road trips together. (San Diego, San Antonio, and Albuquerque!) I got to know his family, and I still visit them when I go out to Utah. He was funny and encouraging and insightful, and if I say much more it’s going to sound like a eulogy, so I won’t.

These are just some of the teachers that helped me become who I am today, and even listing these few makes me want to take even more time to talk about the others. Sandy Chantry (high school drama), Leslie Norris (poetry), Mrs. Allen (third grade–where I started writing my first book), Mrs. Chapman (AP US History), La (AP English), Bruce Young (CS Lewis), Dave Wolverton (Writing Sci-fi/Fantasy), Doug Thayer (Creative Writing). It feels like I’m missing some other great ones as well, but time is only so long.

Teachers can and do make a huge impact on us, for good and for bad. (Bad teachers? I could call them out as well (beyond Mr. Kosmo), but I’ll say there was only one teacher I knew who actively seemed sadistic and antagonistic to students. Mr. King. Ugh. The less said about him, the better. But let’s keep this post positive, shall we?)

So a huge thank you to all those fine teachers who helped me get to where I am.

Who are some of your favorite teachers? Why?

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