Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Teacher - Homeschool Village Linkup

Since making the decision to homeschool, I have thought a lot about my favorite teacher.  Today I am joining The Homeschool Village Link UP which has asked for a post about your favorite teacher and some old pictures.

My favorite teacher is Diane Edwards Leahy.  She was my eleventh grade English teacher.  I had always loved to read and write, but Mrs. Leahy challenged us to think for ourselves.  She encouraged us to think about what songs Holden Caulfield would like or where Macbeth would want to go on vacation.  Any ideas were fine as long as we could cite reasons from the text as to why we thought that.  That kind of reading, that kind of writing, that kind of cReAtIviTy was new to me and I loved it!  My best friend created a video game (this is back in 1988!) for a project and she loved it!

But the most important thing I remember from her class was her saying, "You can read the books and do the work and get a good grade; or you can read the books, think about the material, learn and grow from it and form your own opinions about things.  The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  Don't accept that one interpretation is gospel, look into what something means to you.  It may mean different things at different times, but as long as you can back it can form an opinion."  She made me feel that as long as I did the work and thought about it, I was smart.

Ms. Leahy was a young, hip teacher.  She was only ten years older than I.  She had grown up in Manhattan and had attended Brown.  She listened to "alternative" music before there was alternative music.  She told us some personal things and spoke to us like we were cool, intelligent people.  She encouraged us to be our own person and think for ourselves.

She was such an awesome teacher.  I strive to empower my children in learning the way that she empowered me.

Thanks, Ms. Leahy, wherever you are!

Here is a photo of me from when I was in high school: