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Teacher Impact: What Students Really Remember

25 Apr 2014 by Guest Blogger

We are thrilled to have Marla Muntner guest blog for us today. Marla has spent most of her professional life supporting teaching and learning—inside and outside of the classroom. She’s worked for newspapers, nonprofits, public schools, and education companies. As the former Marketing and Communications Manager for Teachstone, she thrived on creative work through designing instructional programs, managing complex projects, leading creative teams, and designing engaging communications materials.

The best teacher I ever had made me extremely uncomfortable: he pushed me to do things I didn’t feel ready to do. He noticed when I was upset or preoccupied—usually well before I was even aware that something was amiss. And he trusted my judgment and recognized my abilities well before I did.

Sure, he ran our high school newspaper class like a tight ship, keeping us on schedule, bringing in professional mentors, and arranging for printing and delivery of the Paw Print newspaper. But, truthfully, I barely remember that stuff.

What I do remember is his calm insistence that I could handle interviewing our principal after we had uncovered a misappropriation of funds under his watch—a daunting task for this awkward 16-year-old. And I remember him helping me feel okay about not having a date to the prom. And, most important, I remember him quietly handing me a blank book and encouraging me to write and create—a simple gesture that helped shape the rest of my life.

Like so many events in the years since I was his student, reading this Huffington Post article, “What Students Remember Most about Teachers” made me think of him and filled me with gratitude. It also made me wonder about all the things I’d said to my former students over the years.

There’s no way to know in advance how our interactions with students will shape their futures. But it’s clear that being fully present, fully human, and intentional in our day-to-day interactions provides a powerful opportunity we shouldn’t miss.

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